On Thursday, May 10, 12 for Life® held its annual commencement ceremony, celebrating eleven years since the program’s inception in 2007.
12 for Life, a collaborative partnership that 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 move ahead to become successful, productive members of the communities in which they live.
190 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 388 graduates for 2018, including 43 students from the program’s Florence, Ala. location, 82 through the Great Promise Partnership and 73 from Textron Specialized Vehicles, Inc.’s Reaching Potential Through Manufacturing (RPM) program in Richmond County, Ga. These graduates mark a total of nearly 2,500 students who have completed 12 for Life to date.
“12 for Life creates possibilities for the youth in our communities,” said Kathleen Edge, executive vice president of Human Resources at Southwire. “The program provides resources and removes obstacles that would prevent students from achieving their highest potential. We are proud to celebrate our graduates once again and look forward to 12 for Life’s future.”
The 2018 ceremony was hosted at the Carroll County Schools Performing Arts Center. Attendees included students, teachers, families, school system representatives, Southwire employees, key government leaders including Richard Woods, Georgia’s state school superintendent, community leaders and friends. Scott Cowart, superintendent of the Carroll County School System, thanked attendees for their support and spoke to graduates about leaving a legacy as they transition into the new stage of their lives.
“We are proud of our partnership with Southwire and other school systems, and we are grateful for the support from family, friends, teachers and mentors,” said Cowart. “To graduates, I want to remind you that this is a successful conclusion of a journey, and as you transition into the next stage of your life, it is important to remember that you are part of the 12 for Life legacy. I hope you are proud of that because we are extremely proud of each of you.”
The graduation event was led by Joel Grubbs, 12 for Life site supervisor for the Carroll County School System. The keynote address for the ceremony was presented by Ashley Jordan, department manager for Southwire’s North Campus facility and 2009 graduate of 12 for Life. Jordan told her inspiring story and encouraged graduates to use the experience they have obtained through the program as they move forward.
“After today, whether you decide to further your education, pursue a career with Southwire, serve our country or stay home and raise a family, know that 12 for Life is your foundation to success,” said Jordan. “You can use your drive to succeed to be whoever you want to be and achieve anything you want in life.”
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 Maria Hernandez Diego, Central High School. Christin Scales, Bowdon High School, and Mason Donoho, Temple High School, received the Endurance Award, and Nathan Denney, also from Temple High School, received the 12 for Life Standard of Excellence Award. The Leadership Award was presented to Dustyn Moore, a Haralson County High School graduate.
23 students were recognized as recipients of a Southwire Scholarship. The Harold H. Charles Memorial Scholarship was presented to Skyler Hewett, Central High School, and Bob Uglum presented the Kiwanis Club of Carrollton Golden K 12 for Life Scholarship to Breonna Taylor of Villa Rica High School.
Throughout their time at 12 for Life, many of the graduates also completed college courses and received certifications related to their chosen career pathways.
The ceremony closed with a musical performance of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” by Yennifer Perez-Mazariego and inspirational remarks by graduates Sierra Richoux and Justin Dobbs, who recited “The Road Not Taken” by Robert Frost.
“I am so proud to be a part of 12 for Life,” said Richoux. “12 for Life has created opportunities for all of us. Regardless of the hand we were dealt, we have persevered through challenges and made it to today. We are the future of society, and I trust that you will choose to create your own path going forward.”
12 for Life will honor the graduates at its Florence location in an upcoming ceremony later this month.
For other updates about 12 for Life, please stay tuned to southwireblog.com.