Graduates of SFSC’s Basic Corrections Class 16-189 are (front row, from left): Jamila Richards, Catessa Holt, Juan Thigpen, Megan White, and Bobby Ridley. In the back row are, from left: Alfredo Flores, Rebecca Hall, David Breau Jr., and Eddie Aguilar.

Graduates of SFSC’s Basic Corrections Class 16-189 are (front row, from left): Jamila Richards, Catessa Holt, Juan Thigpen, Megan White, and Bobby Ridley. In the back row are, from left: Alfredo Flores, Rebecca Hall, David Breau Jr., and Eddie Aguilar.

New doors opened for the nine cadets in South Florida State College’s Basic Corrections Class 16-189 as they accepted occupational certificates during a graduation ceremony held Wednesday evening in the SFSC University Center Auditorium, Highlands Campus.

Eddie Aguilar, David Breau Jr., Alfredo Flores, Rebecca Hall, Catessa Holt, Jamila Richards, Bobby Ridley, and Megan White completed 420 hours of correctional officer training since Feb. 1, according to Michael Austin, coordinator, SFSC Criminal Justice Academy. They took 11 exams in as many weeks, while mastering skills in first aid, self-defense, and firearms and maintaining a class grade point average (GPA) of 92.5.

Thigpen received a special award for serving as class leader. Ridley received the award for top firearms score – a notable accomplishment, Austin pointed out, considering that he had never handled a weapon before entering SFSC’s basic corrections training course. White received the award for the top academic score, earning 454 points out of a potential 482.

 In the keynote address, Wauchula police officer Jesse Poole recalled that, even as a child, his heart was set on a career in law enforcement, and he always pursued that path. Having a purpose and goals inspired him and kept him on track. “You only get one life to live,” Poole told the new graduates. “Locate the path you were meant to walk, and you will find goals along the way.”

By the time of graduation, seven of the new correctional officers were already employed in correctional positions.

For more information about SFSC’s Basic Corrections Officer Academy and other law enforcement training programs, call the Criminal Justice Academy at 453-6661, 494-7500, 773-2252, or 465-5300.