Drug court graduates thankful for opportunity, program
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.”