Seven graduate from Adams County Youth Drug Court

Published 12:44 am Wednesday, December 16, 2009

NATCHEZ — For the seven graduates of the Adams County Youth Drug Court, Tuesday marked not only a day of accomplishment, but one of sobriety and responsibility.

“The whole point in the process is for you to get the skills that you need for you to be successful for the rest of your life,” speaker Rankin County Judge Tom Broome told graduates.

The youth drug court is a service provided by the county in which juvenile offenders are required to receive treatment for their addictions.

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Random drug screenings and individual and family counseling also play a part in drug court proceedings.

Four 90-day sessions in which court members are found clean of drugs or alcohol and exhibit good behavior are required to graduate from the program completely, but for some students, the process takes longer than eight months.

Tuesday, Broome’s message was one of congratulations and perseverance.

“If you finish what you start, you’re going to be someone people will respect. People want to be around someone that gets things done that day,” Broome said.

Broome said in each graduate, he saw all the qualities that make a strong person, and he hoped each person finishing the program would continue on the journey they started in drug court.

“You have to have courage in your character and know who you are. Once you’re comfortable in your own skin, you feel a whole lot better,” Broome said. “Be someone, but be yourself. Pick the highest level you can to achieve, and then double it.

“I hope you see (the potential) within yourselves because we see it within you,” Broome said.

Adams County Judge John Hudson, who works closely with each youth drug court students, said he has high hopes for the graduates of the class of 2009.

“This graduation is not the end of something. It’s the beginning of something. It’s the beginning of a new road,” he said.

“I want you to work and pray, and pray and work, and get some religion in your hearts, skills in your hands and knowledge in your head.

“I believe there is great potential for you to be someone who matters and makes a difference in this world.”

After being awarded their diplomas and a gift package consisting of a $10 gas coupon, a $50 shopping card and a $100 savings bond, graduates and family and friends were asked to speak.

“I want to thank my mom for helping me keep me head on straight and the drug court staff for keeping me in line,” one young man said. “You changed my life.”

As families, loved ones and drug court staff members were thanked, families and supporters of the graduates had words of wisdom and encouragement to offer in return.