Inmates graduate with GEDs at LMDC - wave3.com-Louisville News, Weather & Sports

Inmates graduate with GEDs at LMDC

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Their classroom was inside Louisville Metro Corrections under their gowns were jump suits. All of them were inmates working to turn a wrong into a right. Their classroom was inside Louisville Metro Corrections under their gowns were jump suits. All of them were inmates working to turn a wrong into a right.
Ray Henderson Ray Henderson
Ashley Edwards Ashley Edwards
Gina Gutierrez with her sister Ashley Edwards Gina Gutierrez with her sister Ashley Edwards
Ruben Pavlov Ruben Pavlov

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) – Nine-thousand dollars a year, that's what is said to be the difference between those who have a high school education and those who don't. On Thursday there was an unique graduation ceremony honoring those who never completed high school, but recently passed their GED exam.

The celebration wasn't like most typical graduations because the graduates completed their classes and tests behind bars.  

Their classroom was inside Louisville Metro Corrections under their gowns were jump suits. All of them were inmates working to turn a wrong into a right. 

"I stayed with it and I got it and I'm jumping with joy on the inside," said Ray Henderson, inmate. "I can't stop. I'm too happy."

The 38 year old has tried to improve his education for the last 16 years, but he's been in and out of jail, so it hasn't been easy.

"I was going to school, but I still have a problem with smoking marijuana and I couldn't stop," said Henderson. 

Henderson's been locked up since May and believes this time around is different. Now with a diploma in hand, he knows he never wants to be back. "No and I say that every time, but no. I have to be here to stay focused," said Henderson. 

Ashley Edwards, 26, said hanging with the wrong crowd landed her behind bars. "I take responsibility," said Edwards. "I made some bad decisions, so here I am." 

Since she never finished high school she knew she wanted to make the effort to get her GED.

"I want to go to college," said Edwards. "I do want to go to college. I have two small children at home they need me and I just want to better myself, so I can take care of them."

In the crowd, Edward's 19-year-old sister beamed with pride. "I'm so proud of her, even though she messed up a little," said Gina Gutierrez. "She's still doing good things."

This is the only time inmates are allowed to see a visitor face to face, a special reward for their hard work. Jefferson County Public School teachers spend two hours a night, twice a week teaching in the jail classroom.

"People work really hard, people want to change," said Ruben Pavlov, Louisville Metro Department of Corrections Supervisor. People value what they obtain here and I'm glad this department is giving opportunity to all those people."

An opportunity these six graduates hope to take with them and run. "I want to use this when I do get out to build upon it because this has been a goal for me, this is like a life time achievement for me," said Henderson. 

This year teachers are hopeful 40 inmates will obtain their GED.

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