Northern New Hampshire correctional facility holds graduation ceremony for 7 residents

Published: 07-10-2023 7:54 PM

The New Hampshire Department of Corrections recently hosted a graduation ceremony, honoring four residents receiving their high school diploma, two residents who completed their HiSET exam, and one resident who earned his bachelor’s degree from Adams State University.

Donning traditional caps and gowns, residents were congratulated by representatives from Senator Shaheen’s Office, Congresswoman Kuster’s Office, Department of Corrections officials, and invited family and friends. Residents graduating from Granite State High School are now able to enroll in college level classes in pursuit of their associate or bachelor’s degrees. The opportunity for individuals who are incarcerated to receive their college degree is recently increased due to the reauthorization Second Chance Pell Grant, and the department’s collaboration with White Mountains Community College and NHTI Concord’s Community College. The HiSET exam is the High School Equivalency Test and is an alternative to a United States High School Diploma and GED test.

“Practically speaking, an education is a successful path for anyone but consider how that path is traveled during incarceration. The graduates today made the right choice, in a tough environment, to focus on their personal and professional growth through their educational achievements,” said New Hampshire Department of Corrections Commissioner Helen Hanks. “Our certified educators and community collegial partners, support adult learners in a prison setting to achieve goals they never thought possible, and, in some cases, they didn’t think they deserved. By providing people with the opportunity to earn, for some a high school diploma and others a post-secondary degree, we are being transformative by changing the students’ lives, advancing the positive interactions they have with families and friends and ultimately, we better of our communities.”

Dr. Kristen Miller, Vice President of Academic Affairs at White Mountains Community College, delivered the graduation’s keynote address. In her speech, she encouraged graduates to use the skills they have acquired “to make positive change, to uplift others who may be facing similar challenges, and to be the agents of change in a world that often seems resistant to it.”

In addition to the speech given by Dr. Miller, residents listened to addresses given by two of their fellow graduates.

Granite State High School is part of a special school district within the New Hampshire Department of Corrections, established by law under an interagency agreement with the Department of Education. It employs a full contingent of qualified educators who teach basic high school classes, such as English, math, and science, as well as other specialized programs.