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Inaugural Graduation
by Kyle Mooty, Eufaula Tribune

The inaugural graduation ceremony of Eufaula’s YouthBuild program was a big success, but Executive Director Tom Wachs wants it to be even bigger and better next year.

“I am beyond thrilled for our very first graduation ceremony. Spread the word about this fantastic program. I expect more tables filled up with grads next year.”

Two individuals earned graduation diplomas, while four others earned certificates.

YouthBuild Graduates
Dion Allen -- completion of Ready to Work and NCCER Core Curriculum.
Tenzerick Davis – completion of GED and Eufaula Glass Apprenticeship

NCCER Certificates
Demetria Gilbert – completion of NCCER Core Curriculum
Paquallia Johnson – completion of NCCER Core Curriculum, She also received a Life Skills & Leadership.
Devante Thomas -- completion of NCCER Core Curriculum and Eufaula Glass Apprenticeship
Ryeshon Hall – completion of both Nutrition and Leadership

Program Director Donna Green was also excited for the students, which were greeted with a large audience at the Boys & Girls Club Gym on Engram Street.

“I’m very excited to recognize these young people,” Green said.

The guest speaker was Tony Fleming, a welding lab assistant at Wallace Community college-Sparks Campus.

“In life, challenges they come,” Fleming said. “But, just because challenges come, it doesn’t mean you have to settle. “I come from a family that didn’t have much. Everything that will happen in your life will be because of God. He already knew it was gonna happen. There was a time in my life that I can hardly read. I was afraid. I came to realize that people in your life were placed there for a reason, whether it was to encourage you or to put you down. What direction are you going? God is in control. Yes, you may have made some bad choices in your life, but right now you are exactly where you’re supposed to be.

“The choices you make from now on will decide which path you’ll do down. What path are you gonna choose?”

Many representatives of the program joined to sing “We are the World,” and graduate Dion Allen recited a poem to the crowd.

On hand for the occasion included dignitaries State Representative Berry Forte, Cindy Pate of U.S. Representative Martha Roby’s office, 3rd Judicial Circuit District Attorney Ben Reeves Jr., and Assistant D.A. Donnie Ezell.