Thursday, July 28, 2011

Education is hope

Chef Jeff Henderson speaks to TCC graduates at the commencement ceremony this morning at Dick Conner Correctional Center in Hominy.

I only see them once a year, but in the past three TCC graduations held at Dick Conner Correctional Center in Hominy I can see that the offenders (who are also TCC graduates), have changed. Offenders who didn't look me in the eyes in 2009 smiled and shook my hand today. There is hope in their eyes and their gestures. But that's just a small example of how college has changed, and continues to change, the lives of these offenders.

Chef Jeff Henderson returned to Conner's this morning for the third year in a row, speaking to TCC graduates. He told them about mistakes he has made and how he has worked diligently to turn his life around. From drug dealer to Food Network personality/chef and best selling author, Chef Jeff has set an example for these offenders to follow. He told them there is a better way to live, and education is the road that takes you there.

He went on to say not only is education the key to a better life, it's also something no one can take away from you. He said no matter where you come from, what you've done or what you haven't done, an education is yours forever. So true.

Some of those offenders will probably never leave Conner's, yet they are earning certificates of achievement and associate degrees. Education is not only giving them knowledge, it's also giving them hope. Hope that even though they can't change their own fates, they have the power to influence younger offenders, their children and others to not take the same paths they did.

See what I saw through my camera lens on TCC's Facebook fan page.

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