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Juvenile Offenders Receive High School Diplomas, GED Certificates in Ventura Youth Correctional Facility

CAMARILLO – Today, fifty-eight youth offenders at the Ventura Youth Correctional Facility (VYCF) reached an important milestone, as they officially became graduates of the Class of 2016 of the Mary B. Perry High School located within the facility, and operated by the California Department of Corrections, Division of Juvenile Justice (DJJ). Of the 58, forty-eight earned high school diplomas and ten their General Education Degrees (GED’s) certificates.
“These students have shown great commitment, effort and perseverance in completing their education, and shows that they can accomplish great things,” said Martin Griffin, principal of Mary B. Perry High School.

This year’s Valedictorian was Martha Nunez, who graduated with honors, and was the lead student mentor, chess club lady grand master and a contributor to the school newspaper. 

Others recognized at this year’s ceremony included Matthew Gainza, who was the first student from Mary B. Perry high school to receive a Microsoft Office Specialist certificate, and students Dajay Scott, Dijon Edwards, Mathew Gainza and Casey Painter, who were recognized and certified by the National Restaurant Association.

This year’s keynote speaker was James Anderson, Program Coordinator of the Anti-Recidivism Coalititon. Anderson grew up in Los Angeles County and was deeply involved in gangs and drugs at a young age. He turned his life around and is currently studying at UCLA, majoring in political science. Anderson was appointed to the State Advisory Committee on Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention by Governor Jerry Brown.

“I hope to raise awareness, inspire hope, and provide individuals with a different perspective on why juveniles become involved in delinquent behavior,” Anderson said. “I am living proof that it is never too late to change and turn your lives around.”

Ventura YCF is a reception center-clinic and program facility which houses and provides diagnostic services for males and females, separated by high fencing and barbed wire fencing. The male population generally outnumbers the females 10 to 1.

The DJJ operates an accredited school district, providing students with the same high school curriculum in each of its four institutions they would receive in their local community. Youth attend school Monday through Friday. DJJ considers a diploma or a GED a minimum requirement for parole consideration.

Each school provides a core curriculum that meets the content standards for California public high schools. Each student meets with his or her education advisor upon entry and monthly thereafter, to review their education plan. Modifications to the student’s high school graduation plan are made at least every six months if necessary.

Since 2010, 1,070 youth have earned their high school diplomas or GED’s at DJJ’s four high schools. During that same time, 696 youth earned nationally-recognized certificates in vocational training.

JUNE 24, 2016

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