|MONROE TOWNSHIP - The New Jersey Juvenile Justice Commission (JJC) today held its annual high school commencement ceremony at the New Jersey Training School (NJTS) in Monroe Township. Acting Attorney General John J. Hoffman addressed the graduates and Roger A. Mitchell, Jr. M.D., Northern Regional Medical Examiner provided the keynote address. Kevin M. Brown, Executive Director of the JJC, presented the graduates with their high school diplomas or General Equivalency Degrees (GED) issued by their local school districts or the State. In addition to the 77 students participating in the commencement ceremony, 87 students received their diplomas or GEDs over the course of the academic year and have since been released from JJC supervision. The JJC’s school year includes five marking periods, concluding in mid-September.
All graduates have met the high school graduation requirements set forth by the New Jersey Department of Education. The JJC coordinates each student’s curricula with his or her home school to allow each student to receive a diploma from his or her local education authority. Students receiving their degrees today are assigned to the NJTS, Juvenile Medium Security Facility (JMSF), the Female Secure and Intake Facility, and several of the JJC’s residential community homes, day programs and transitional programs located throughout the state.
“Graduation is a milestone for every student – one that is reached through hard work and dedication. Our JJC students have overcome many challenges in order to reach graduation day. Many of these students were not attending school at all or performed well below grade level when they entered the JJC. Today, these young men and women have earned the right to call them themselves graduates,” said Acting Attorney General John J. Hoffman.
“The New Jersey Juvenile Justice Commission has a challenging job - to turn around the lives of troubled young people and provide them with the tools they need to succeed. A high school diploma or a GED is not simply a piece of paper,” said Executive Director Kevin M. Brown. “Whether these graduates choose to continue to pursue academic studies at the college level, focus on vocational and technical training, or prepare to enter the job market, a degree provides these young men and women with a sense of accomplishment and self-worth that will help them succeed throughout their lives.”
Catherine Mirra, co-chair of the New Jersey Association of County Youth Services Commission Administrators representing Bergen County and Monica Lallo, Union County Youth Services Commission Administrator, presented eight graduates with awards recognizing their improvement in the following areas; Mathematics, English, Social Studies, Science, Art, Career and Technical Education, World Languages and GED Score. Each recipient received $25.00 and a certificate of recognition awarded by the association.
The Juvenile Justice Commission’s Office of Education oversees educational services for all JJC programs as well as county juvenile detention centers. The Office of Education provides an appropriate and comprehensive educational program specific to each youth, while promoting opportunities for positive growth and development. The goal of the JJC educational program is to prepare students for continued learning and workforce preparation by offering a wide-range of challenging academic and career-technical experiences that meet the needs of all students, including those with special needs.
In addition to academics, the Office of Education provides Career and Technical programs of study that prepare students for high skill, high wage or high demand occupations. The JJC offers a variety of programming including: Applied Horticulture Sciences, Culinary Arts with Safe Serve Certification, Graphic Arts, Computer Applications with various certifications, EKG training and certification, Plumbing and Pipefitting.
For more information on the JJC, please visit www.njjjc.com.