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Six seniors wearing traditional caps and gowns will receive their high school diplomas Thursday during commencement exercises at South Jetty High School in Warrenton.
Commencement speakers will encourage the students, family members will applaud them, and the students will feel the pride of an achievement some might never have anticipated.
“This is a tremendous achievement for these youth given how few credits they had when they came to us and their limited success with education previously,” said Dan Berger, superintendent of the Oregon Youth Authority’s North Coast Youth Correctional Facility where the high school is located.
The fully accredited high school is operated by the Warrenton-Hammond School District through a contract with the Oregon Department of Education.
Speaker for the afternoon commencement ceremony will be Karen Daniels, OYA’s assistant director for facilities services. She is expected to speak to how more education increases options and supports the agency’s vision that youth who leave OYA will go on to lead productive, crime-free lives. Youth in OYA facilities have access not only to year-round high schools but also to post-secondary online classes, vocational opportunities and treatment that helps them get back on track.
Youth typically come to OYA with few if any high school credits. Across OYA last year, one in seven youth in close-custody facilities earned high school diplomas. Research shows an inverse relationship between educational attainment and criminal behavior. School achievement by youth helps fulfill OYA’s mission to protect the public and reduce crime by holding youth offenders accountable and providing opportunities for reformation in safe environments.
OYA has custody of approximately 750 youth ages 12 to 24 in correctional and transitional facilities in Albany, Burns, Florence, Grants Pass, La Grande, Salem, Tillamook, Warrenton and Woodburn. OYA juvenile probation and parole officers supervise an additional 1,050 youth on probation and parole in communities throughout Oregon.