On May 21, 2015, the Georgia Preparatory Academy held its Class of 2015 Commencement Exercises at the Atlanta Youth Development Campus in College Park, Georgia. A total of fifty-three diplomas, GEDs, and Technical Certificates of Credit were awarded to fifty-one students. Two students completed both a GED and Technical Certificate of Credit. Among the facilities honoring their graduates were the Macon Youth Development Campus, Eastman Youth Development Campus, Gainesville Regional Youth Detention Center, Augusta Youth Development Campus, Milan Youth Development Campus, Muscogee Youth Development Campus, Sumter Youth Development Campus, and the Atlanta Youth Development Campus.
During the Commencement Ceremony, the graduating youth were joined by a large group of dignitaries, staff, and family members. VIP attendees from the Department of Juvenile Justice included Commissioner Avery D. Niles, GPA Associate Superintendent of Schools Dr. Audrey R. Armistad, and DJJ Board Member Thomas L. Coleman. Joe Dan Banker, Executive Director for Academic Affairs for the Technical College System of Georgia gave a special presentation. Georgia State Senator Freddie Powell Sims also attended and gave the Commencement Address.
After the Presentation of the Colors by the Department of Juvenile Justice SMRT Team, the 2015 GPA graduates were treated to a rousing rendition of the National Anthem by the Department of Corrections Voices of Hope Choir.
GPA honor graduates were able to proudly participate in the 2015 Spring Commencement Exercises via a Commencement Welcome, Invocation, Class Charge, and Valedictory Address. The theme of many of the student speeches was gratitude at the opportunity to obtain an education at GPA and that the future is limitless for anyone who works hard and continues to strive. During his remarks, the 2015 Class Valedictorian from the Muscogee YDC stressed that graduation is a tool, one of many that will be needed during the journey of life .
Georgia State Senator Freddie Powell Sims stressed in her speech the importance of accountability and that all youth have rights and the right to happiness and opportunity.
DJJ Commissioner Avery D. Niles told the graduates of how proud he was of each and every one and that now is the time to make positive changes and choose the path of success.
A special note for this 2015 GPA Commencement was the awarding of three unique GEDs at the Gainesville RYDC. Part of the program called Transition to Sucess,it is a collaboration between DJJ, The Mountains Regional Workforce Commission (Workforce Development), and the Technical College System of Georgia. Through this program, the Gainesville RYDC has a dedicated classroom for students who wish to pursue their GED. An instructor employed by Lanier Technical College works full time on the GPA Gainesville campus to provide GED instruction and testing. Funding for this instructor is provided by Workforce Development. In addition, students are enrolled in Workforce Development services that follow them upon release.
The Georgia Preparatory Academy is proud of all of its 2015 graduates.
Commissioner Avery D. Niles
Superintendent of Schools
Dr. Audrey R. Armistad
Associate Superintendent of Schools