Oklahoma Prison Has Largest Graduating Class in Its History
HOLDENVILLE, Oklahoma - Davis Correctional Facility celebrated its largest ever graduating class Wednesday.
Education administrators with DCF handed out 38 General Educational Development (GED) certificates, six associates degrees, 10 certifications from PBI CareerTech and 12 keyboarding certificates in conjunction with Workforce Oklahoma.
Steve Gage, former University of Tulsa quarterback and safety on the Washington Redskins NFL Superbowl team was the keynote speaker at the ceremony.
“We all stumble from time to time, whether it is self-inflicted or things out of our control,” Gage said. “No matter what life throws at us, we have to keep moving forward and by following Jesus, he will lead you in the right direction and keep you in the game.”
Gage is a current business owner and pastor at a Baptist church in Tulsa.
Warden Tim Wilkinson said in his 32-year corrections career he has never seen a larger class size and he has never had a corrections director attend a graduation ceremony.
“We would have never been able to see this many people come across the stage if it wasn’t for the dedication and commitment of the education staff at this facility,” Wilkinson said. “The educators who come in to help these guys out are unmatched in their will to see these men achieve more in their lives. I am beyond proud of the staff for everything they do.”
Oklahoma Department of Corrections Director Joe M. Allbaugh spoke at the ceremony and told the graduates to leave their time in custody behind and move on.
“Once you walk out that door, it is over and your debt to society will have been paid,” Allbaugh said. “We all make mistakes. Do not let anyone put a label of inmate on you ever again.”
Allbaugh said he applauded the graduates because it took courage for them to succeed.
“You made something more of your incarceration,” Allbaugh said. “I am sure you had many people telling you that you couldn’t accomplish this goal. Now it is up to you to do more when you leave this place.”