On Thursday, May 9, 12 for Life® hosted its annual commencement ceremony celebrating 12 years since the program’s inception.
In 2007, Southwire embarked on a unique partnership with Carroll County Schools that has grown to impact thousands of lives in the community — a partnership which provides classroom instruction, on-the-job training, key work/life skills, mentoring and employment opportunities. Through 12 for Life, students are motivated to stay in school, graduate and move ahead to become successful, productive members of the communities in which they live. The program has grown in west Georgia and has been replicated in other locations, including Southwire’s campus in Florence, Ala., and Reaching Potential for Manufacturing (RPM) – Textron E-Z-Go’s model of the program.
This year, 195 students from Carroll, Haralson and Heard County Schools were honored at the ceremony who completed the requirements to receive their high school diplomas through the support of the Carrollton-area program. 12 for Life will recognize 273 graduates this year, including 52 students from the program’s Florence, Ala., location and 29 from Textron Specialized Vehicles, Inc.’s Reaching Potential Through Manufacturing (RPM) program in Richmond County, Ga. These graduates mark a total of nearly 2,800 students who have completed 12 for Life to date.
“This is an incredible partnership,” said Kelley Park, Southwire’s executive vice president of human resources and this year’s 12 for Life graduation keynote speaker. “This program allows students to gain an education while preparing them for the workforce. But more than that, we hope students learn to believe in themselves and the incredible things that they can accomplish.”
The 2019 ceremony was hosted at the Carroll County Schools Performing Arts Center. Attendees included students, teachers, families, school system representatives, Southwire employees, key government leaders, community leaders and friends. The ceremony began with a musical performance of “Lean on Me” by the 12 for Life leadership team to honor students for their dedication and commitment followed by welcome remarks from Marsha Smith, Southwire’s 12 for Life operations manager. Scott Cowart, superintendent of the Carroll County School System, also thanked attendees for their support and challenged graduates to use their experience to further their success, give back to their community and be advocates for the program.
“This is a one-of-a-kind program, not only in our state but our nation,” said Cowart. “Southwire is an important partner in our commitment to positively changing lives, and we are grateful to the team of people who invest countless hours to provide students a bright start to their future. We wish the Class of 2019 continued success.”
The graduation event was led by Joel Grubbs, 12 for Life site supervisor for the Carroll County School System. The keynote address for the ceremony was presented by Park, who shared with students her journey and inspired them to take their destiny into their own hands.
“There are three things no one can ever take away from you – your confidence, your dreams and your education,” said Park. “No one can stop you or discourage you unless you let them. The road may not be easy, and you will face more obstacles, but get back up and keep going because you choose who you become.”
In addition to the recognition of each graduate, several awards and scholarships were granted during the ceremony. The Standard of Excellence Award, awarded to a student who has outstanding attendance, work ethic and character, was presented to Emmanuel Hernandez of Central High School. The Academic Achievement Award, given to the student with the highest GPA in the program, was presented to Tiffany Jones, Central High School. Special awards were also distributed including the Leadership Award, given to Lane Jacobs, also a Central High School graduate; the Perseverance Award, presented to James Dumas, a Temple High School graduate; and two Dependability awards, awarded to Precious Callahan, Villa Rica High School, and Lativia Ackey, Central High School.
Danielle Pruitt, Southwire’s 12 for Life human resources manager, presented 12 students who were dually enrolled with a Southwire Scholarship to continue their education. The Harold H. Charles Memorial Scholarship was presented to Elizabeth Gray, Temple High School, and Bob Uglum presented the Kiwanis Club of Carrollton Golden K 12 for Life Scholarship to two students: Alex Martinez of Temple High School and Tiffany Jones of Central High School
Throughout their time at 12 for Life, many of the graduates also completed college courses and received certifications related to their chosen career pathways.
The ceremony concluded with a special musical performance by a selection of 12 for Life students. 12 for Life will honor the graduates at its Florence location in an upcoming ceremony later this month. Stay tuned to Southwire Community on Facebook for updates.