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SPAN Class of 2018 honored at commencement

Graduates of the SPAN (Special Programming for Achievement Network) of Chilton County Class of 2018 have moved over their tassels to step into the next chapters of their lives.

A commencement ceremony at Clanton City Hall on July 31 honored the hard work of five graduates who earned their GEDs and 12 graduates who caught up with their grade levels.

“Congratulations to every one of y’all. This is something that you need to be very proud of,” District Judge Chris Speaks echoed prior administrators’ comments to the class. “If you got your GED today, or if you got yourself in a position now where you can go back and get that, it’s extremely important.”

Speaks said recruiters told him that they could “almost guarantee that within five years [an employee] can be making $100,000,” if the person a has high school diploma, shows up to work every day and passes drug tests.

“Those should be three very simple things that you can do, and I promise you there are people out there begging for people that will go work and do that,” Speaks said.

During his commencement address, 19th Judicial Circuit Court Judge Bill Lewis advised graduates to use their demonstrated determination to work to achieve their goals in life.

“Use that determination to get that career that you’ve always wanted, to achieve the goals that you always visualized, and always have a passion for what you do,” he said. “Don’t be scared to work for it. If something’s worth having, it’s worth working for.”

Lewis said that according to Mark 10:42-43, true greatness is having humility.

“This country was founded on civil debate, the basic principles of Christianity and freedom — and we continue to stray dangerously away from those principles. We have forgotten that we are all human, and we must rely on the good, decent principles of humanity and humility that brought us together to keep us from being divided,” Lewis said. “In the worst of darkness, be good. Be the light. And don’t stop here. Continue to grow, continue to evolve … If you don’t continue to constantly grow, you may cheat yourself, because growing is being alive — growing is living.”

For the much-anticipated moment of honor, Speaks presented the graduates with their diplomas.

SPAN of Chilton County extended special thanks and recognition to advisory board members, including former advisory board president Kevin George, as well as SPAN supporters, graduates’ families and friends, Speaks and the Juvenile Court, Clanton Mayor Billy Joe Driver, the City of Clanton, Chilton County United Way, Community Action and Alabama Power Energizers.

SPAN of Chilton County is one of the nine SPAN programs throughout the state of Alabama that aim “to help at-risk youth succeed academically and socially through individualized services and training,” according to the SPAN of Chilton County Facebook page.
For more information about SPAN of Chilton County, call (205) 755-2779.