While the traditional ‘pomp and circumstance played,’ six young people received their high school equivalency diplomas at the Westchester Department of Correction (WDOC) campus.

Due to the COVID-19 restrictions, WDOC did not have its traditional formal ceremony to recognize this important achievement, which in the past has included onsite participation from student family members, teachers, mentors and County Executive George Latimer. This year, working within the Coronavirus restrictions, WDOC safely staged a small event in its main chapel, still allowing the opportunity for the students to enter in their cap and gowns while ‘pomp and circumstance’ played.

Latimer said: “I sincerely congratulate these students who have overcome insurmountable odds to achieve something truly great. These young people are once again shining examples of the work done at our nationally recognized WDOC under Commissioner Spano, First DC Padilla, DC Diaz and DC Gerald.”

Commissioner Joseph K. Spano was there to personally recognize their hard work and encourage them to remain focused on a better life path.

Spano said: “As you know firsthand, we did not allow the Pandemic to prevent us from delivering critical rehabilitation programs and services. To your credit, you did not allow your time here to get in the way of your desire to get on a better life path. Instead, you worked hard to further your education, something that is sure to benefit you and your families upon return home and something that you should be proud of”

In her opening remarks, Spain Brook Academy Principal Dr. Michele Darby said: “We take great pride in the hard work and achievements of every one of our students. Those students earning their diplomas today have demonstrated their commitment to a better life for themselves and their families. None of this would be possible without the support and collaboration of the Spain Brook Academy and Department of Correction staff and their dedication to the students.”

Dr. Darby also advised that 19 other WDOC students took the high school equivalency exam this past weekend and were eagerly awaiting the results. The six student’s receiving diplomas are now eligible to participate in WDOC onsite college programs.