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PYN News Article

A Different Kind of Graduation: Out-of-School and Formerly Delinquent Youth Celebrate Turning Their Lives Around

Category: PYN | Jun 1, 2007

PHILADELPHIA, PA, June 28, 2007 – Based on outward appearances, it was a typical graduation: young people assembled on the stage, dressed in caps and gowns, and preparing to receive recognition for their accomplishments. But in fact, this graduation ceremony was anything but typical.

In fact, this class of graduates was comprised of youth who have dropped out of school, youth returning from incarceration, and other “disconnected” youth. They are graduates many said would never make it. By any label – “at risk youth,” “delinquents,” and “drop outs,” – these youth were never supposed to succeed.
And yet, there they were.

Today at the New Freedom Theater, a group of 70 youth were recognized for:

  • earning high school diplomas and GED’s
  • gaining and keeping full-time employment
  • demonstrating academic achievement
  • performing outstanding service

They have done all of these things at Philadelphia’s E3 Power Centers, facilities committed to empowering out-of-school youth and youth returning from delinquent residential placement to make the most of their lives. E3 Power Centers are an essential component of Project U-Turn, a citywide strategy to improve options and outcomes for the Philadelphia’s struggling students and out-of-school youth.

James Randolph, Deputy Commissioner for the Department of Human Services, congratulated the young graduates. “On behalf of the juvenile justice system, we are so proud of you and the successes you have achieved,” he said. “Your accomplishments speak to your talent and your commitment, and also serve as examples for young people in the E3 Centers and throughout the City.”

The ceremony also featured showcases of student art from E3 youth participating in Philadelphia’s Mural Arts Program, as well as music, and food. James Sharp, Chief of Juvenile Probation, also commended the graduates.

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