° empty

Drug court graduates thankful for opportunity, program

JUSTIN SELLERS / THE NATCHEZ DEMOCRAT — Adams County Youth Court Judge John Hudson talks to participants in the Adams County Youth Drug Court during their graduation ceremony at the federal courthouse in Natchez Wednesday.
JUSTIN SELLERS / THE NATCHEZ DEMOCRAT — Adams County Youth Court Judge John Hudson talks to participants in the Adams County Youth Drug Court during their graduation ceremony at the federal courthouse in Natchez Wednesday.

NATCHEZ For one Adams County Youth Drug Court graduate, the feeling of finishing the intensive probation drew one sentence in response.

“I want to thank the people for making me do this program,” he said.

But that simple gratitude wasn’t ill-placed. Along with the diploma noting he had finished drug court, the graduate got something else — a clean slate.

Adams County’s Youth Drug Court is a program that allows qualified youth offenders to complete a month-long rehabilitation and educational program that — upon completion — clears their records. Wednesday, two participants graduated, and two other teens received phase promotions on their way to graduation.

The second graduate said she was grateful for the lessons drug court taught her.

“The first thing I would like to do is thank my parents for being there for me through all I have put them through, and I want to give thanks to my dad for always taking the time out to always take me to drug court,” she said.

“I know I wouldn’t be where I am today without all the help of all of you.”

Youth Court Judge John Hudson said the goal of youth drug court is to give teens who have made a mistake a chance to be successful despite those mistakes.

“As a judge, I have to do a lot of things I don’t want to do,” Hudson said. “You might not believe me when I say I don’t enjoy sending kids to detention or to training school, but every time we do that it is a signal to us that we have not been successful. We want you to be successful.

“Everything we do, every piece of advice you have gotten over the years, every one of those were aimed at opening doors to you and making you have the opportunity to be successful. We hope that when you walk out those doors that you will have been a better person for being part of this program.”

Natchez-Adams County School District Superintendent Frederick Hill also spoke to the graduates, telling them to set goals, set strategies, take action, assess their accomplishments and celebrate the accomplishments they achieve.

“Success can look anyway you want it,” Hill said. “No one in this room can determine if you are successful — only you can determine that.”

“I feel — and I hope that I am right — that you have outlined or at least started outlining your plan to be successful.”

News

Photo gallery: Jewish community celebrates Passover with Seder dinner

News

NASD graduation rate up, but still lags behind state average

News

The Dart: Vidalia man studies, takes care of family, too

News

Natchez Early College Academy Fun Day to help raise money for trip to Washington, D.C.

News

Parent University set for Thursday

News

Sunday focus: Voters to determine a quarter million in salaries May 10

News

Concordia Parish Sheriff’s Office investigates body found in Monterey

News

County seeking ambulance proposals

News

‘Suzi’s Girls’ remember lasting legacy left by coach

News

Natchez man killed in Ferriday wreck Friday night

News

Photo gallery: The bluff has gone to the DockDogs

News

Tactics in case surrounding alleged attack of parish DA questioned

News

Student charged in verbal assault of teacher

News

City back in court to determine damages in Roundstone case

News

Report: Cuts put school district $1.5M short

News

Faith and Family: R.V.I.C.S. helps Children’s Home

News

Photo gallery: Chalk artist inspired by God creates artwork at First Baptist Church

News

Man previously arrested on rape charges, charged with another sex crime

News

Natchez-Adams School District to pay $127K to former principal

News

Judge dismisses former assistant principal’s lawsuit against school district

News

City receives Urban Youth Corps grant

News

Natchez police make arrest in weekend attack

News

Natchez tourism director’s car left in limbo without commission

News

News photos: Ferriday fire