DANDRIDGE, Tenn. — Mountain View Academy (MVA) has announced that nine of its youth residents graduated high school or earned high school equivalency diplomas on May 26.
“We’re very proud of these kids for achieving a major milestone and for recognizing that education provides them with an important path forward to a more purposeful, successful future,” said Jason Crews, chief executive of Wayne Halfway House, facility operator of Mountain View Academy.
According to a press release, with the nine-member class that graduated last month, 29 Mountain View residents have earned a high school diploma since Wayne Halfway House assumed control of the Tennessee Department of Children’s Services (TNDCS) facility in February 2020.
Officials said that Mountain View houses 65 male residents that are in the custody of TNDCS. The school at Mountain View is fully accredited by the Tennessee Department of Education.
“All of these young people have the opportunity to commit to a more purposeful future," Crews said. We emphasize that pathway to them every day and urge them to pursue the education, skills and career training programs that are available within and outside of our facilities. They have the ability to leave their mistakes behind and have a successful next chapter in life.”
The opportunities include in-person advanced education through partnerships with Bethel University in McKenzie and the Tennessee College of Applied Technology statewide network (TCAT).
The initiative is a result of collaboration by TNDCS and Wayne Halfway House that aims to boost rehabilitation and reduce recidivism by providing more options for advanced education, job skills, and career development.
Officials also mentioned that six Mountain View residents have enrolled in Bethel online classes earning college credits toward associates degrees. The courses are five weeks long and the program requires the completion of 60 credit hours.
Funding for the program is available through student aid and Bethel’s ability to cover any remaining costs through scholarships and grants. Graduating students can enter the workforce free of any student debt, a press release states.
The TCAT program offers multiple vocational education programs across the state, including industrial electrical certification. Several MVA residents have enrolled in TCAT’s electrical program, officials said.
“If we can continue to show these kids what success looks like and how with some focus, determination and hard work they can achieve it, then I am confident that many more of them will choose the right path,” said Crews.