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More Than 80 Wards Earn High School Diplomas and GED’s from Preston Youth Correctional Facility

Programs are designed to help youth succeed upon release, reduce recidivism and improve public safety

IONE – A total of 83 Division of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) wards received high school diplomas or General Education Development certificates during a commencement ceremony held today at the historic Preston Youth Correctional Facility. Family members, California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation Staff, and teachers were present with graduates for the event at the James A. Weiden High School on grounds at Preston YCF.

James A Weiden High School graduates walk in the ceremony to receive the diplomas.
“Wards who leave our youth facilities prepared with the right education can make positive contributions to the community. Giving these wards the tools they need to succeed upon release will reduce recidivism, and improve public safety,” said Bernard Warner, Chief Deputy Secretary for the Division of Juvenile Justice. “Strategies to reduce recidivism provide enormous public safety benefits and are key components of the Governor’s vision for long-term reform.

The graduation keynote speaker was Trino Savala, a youth counselor for the Effort Inc. and Youth Gang Prevention Specialist for Northern California. His presentation discussed how he enhanced his life by breaking out of the cycle of crime, and credited the many people that helped him along the way. In 1983, Savala came to Preston and gave a boxing exhibition with local celebrity Tony “The Tiger” Lopez.

Student Antjuan Ruffin spoke at graduation after being recommended by his Economics Teacher, Lou Williams. Antjuan has done very well in all his academic classes, doing exceptional work in Economics. Student Emmanuel Small spoke also with a strong recommendation by his English Teacher, Tom Kubiak. Emmanuel has excelled in English, as well as in all of his academic classes. He has been very influential with his fellow students, using his depth and insight beyond his academic knowledge.

During the ceremony, 83 students graduated from high school or received GED certificates. Each graduate and certificate holder had an average of four to five family members present. All James A. Weiden teaching were present. The school has 422 students, with academic, vocational, special education and English language learner specialized curriculum taught.