Alamance Community College has awarded a high school equivalency diploma to an inmate at the Alamance County Detention Center, the second such graduate this year. Since 2014, ACC’s College and Career Readiness department has awarded high school equivalency diplomas to 16 inmate students through a unique partnership with the Alamance County Sheriff’s Office.

The graduation ceremony held at the detention center on March 12 marked a significant milestone for Giovanny Diaz, who obtained his High School Equivalency, better known as GED, while incarcerated. ACC instructor Bill Smith supported Diaz in his studies.

“I want to turn my life around. This is the first step in doing it,” said Diaz upon receiving his diploma.

United Way of Alamance County plays a crucial role by providing the test scholarship, removing financial barriers for those pursuing education during incarceration.

“The support of our local United Way agency is a major reason we can offer official testing in the jail,” said Jennifer Mock, Director of College and Career Readiness at ACC.

Attending the graduation ceremony were representatives from Alamance Community College, the Alamance County Detention Center, and the Sheriff’s Office, highlighting the collaborative effort involved in supporting individuals seeking education opportunities while incarcerated.

Sheriff Terry Johnson and Ricky Durham of the Alamance County Sheriff’s Office made comments during the ceremony, emphasizing the importance of education in shaping a successful future post-release.

The efforts to support justice-involved students are further bolstered by a corrections grant provided by the NC Community College System (NCCCS) office that was awarded on July 1, 2023. This grant supplements instruction both within the detention center and in high school equivalency classes held at Sustainable Alamance. Sandra Thompson and Michael Tildsley from NCCCS recently visited Alamance Community College and Sustainable Alamance to witness the ongoing efforts to support justice-involved students.

The Executive Reentry Council, convened by Sustainable Alamance, focuses on providing reentry support, community services, education, and employment opportunities for justice-involved individuals upon their release.

Alamance Community College’s College and Career Readiness team is comprised of Dr. Tyler Harvey, Aimee Gordon, Emily Flack, Bennett Yanacey, Bill Smith, and Director Jennifer Mock. They play a vital role in providing assessment, testing, instruction, and coordination for education programs within the detention center.

“Our team is committed to continuing and expanding these programs to provide educational opportunities for individuals in the detention center,” said Mock.