On Thursday, May 12, 12 for Life® held its annual commencement ceremony, celebrating the 10th class of graduates since its inception in 2007.
12 for Life, a collaborative partnership which began between Southwire and Carroll County Schools in 2007, provides classroom instruction, on-the-job training, key work/life skills, mentoring and employment opportunities. Through 12 for Life, students are motivated to stay in school, graduate and go on to become successful, productive members of the communities in which they live.
209 students from Carroll, Haralson and Heard County Schools completed the requirements to receive their high school diplomas through the support of the Carrollton area program. 12 for Life will recognize 403 graduates for 2016, including 50 students from the program’s Florence location and 144 through the Great Promise Partnership initiative. These graduates mark a total of nearly 1,600 students who have completed the program to date.
The 2016 ceremony was hosted by Roopville Road Baptist Church. Attendees included students, teachers, parents, school system representatives, Southwire employees, community leaders and friends.
“Many years ago, we made the commitment to this program, and it is so exciting to look back and to see how far we’ve come,” said Scott Cowart, superintendent of Carroll County Schools. “The idea of 12 for Life has worked, and, because of that, we are creating a better place for our community to call home.”
The graduation event was led by Dr. Doug Wright, 12 for Life/Step Into STEM project director for Carroll County Schools. Guest speakers included Superintendent Cowart and Southwire’s Senior Vice President of Manufacturing, Richard Miller. The keynote address for the ceremony was presented by Southwire’s Executive Vice President of Human Resources, Kathleen Edge, who provided words of inspiration and set forth a challenge to the graduating seniors.
“12 for Life is one step along your amazing journey. This program has helped nurture and grow what was already in you so that you can reach your potential,” said Edge. “Your journey is like your fingerprint – no one else has it. So, my dream for you today is for you to show what is achievable through this success. Don’t let your limitations define you, but dwell on what is possible.”
In addition to the recognition of each graduate, several awards and scholarships were granted during the ceremony. The Academic Achievement Award, given to the student with the highest GPA in the program, was presented to Trevor Picciano from Temple High School, and Ricky Whitten, Haralson County High School, received the 12 for Life Standard of Excellence Award. 22 students were recognized by Blair Parker, plant manager of Carrollton’s 12 for Life facility, for their eligibility for a Southwire Scholarship. Dr. Dana Riley presented the Harold H. Charles Memorial Scholarship to Jasmine Joseph, Villa Rica High School, and Mrs. Linda Fulford presented the Fulford Family Scholarship to Naquin Lewis, Central High School.
Throughout their time at 12 for Life, many of the graduates also completed college courses and received certifications relative to their chosen career pathways.
“The confidence I have received from being part of the 12 for Life program has empowered me to reach my dreams,” said Picciano. “We’ve learned that our circumstances shouldn’t define us and that anything is possible through hard work, dedication and learning.”
The ceremony closed with a presentation by Devonte Vaughn, Villa Rica High School, who provided words of inspiration to his peers.
12 for Life will honor the graduates at its Florence location in an upcoming ceremony later this month.