Four Unlikely Graduates Graduate from New Pathways
By Paul Schaumburg, Graves County Schools
MAYFIELD, KY - New Pathways for Children, in collaboration with the Graves County School District, this summer graduated four students who previously had little expectation of completing their diplomas.
Jan Jones, a case manager of the facility located in the northwestern Graves County community of Melber, said, “Many young boys and girls enter the program without one hope in ten thousand of graduating from high school.”
But these four did.
Darius Woodson, Thomas McDaniel, Cody Sullivan, and Dustin Leddington wore blue caps and gowns, the gowns trimmed in silver, and wide smiles of accomplishment they couldn’t hide.
Fellow residents, members of the facility’s staff, and parents added to the joy of the commencement, as Graves County Schools’ Superintendent Pete Galloway and his successor, then-Assistant Superintendent Kim Harrison conferred degrees.
Displaying their own wide smiles of accomplishment were Dana Heath and Gina Smith, the teachers the school district supplies to educate residents, and the facility’s co-executive directors Glen Burse and Dr. Ricky Burse.
“New Pathways for Children is a therapeutic residential facility that meets the needs of at-risk young men and women,” Jones explained. “This is the men’s division. We serve boys from ages 12 to 18. We are working with their emotional, social, physical, spiritual, and academic capabilities.
“We can take young men from across the state, but we prefer to have them closer to home so they can work in counseling with their families,” she continued. “To accomplish our task, we try to create a Christ-like atmosphere, seeking to instill in each youth feelings of hope, competency, belonging, and responsibility.
“They get up every morning and go to a group a counselor leads. They have substance abuse, anger management, social skills, and individual counseling. So, it’s all about therapy and the problems they had when they came here. Most of them have had barriers to success in their backgrounds. The state, either through the Department of Community-Based Services or the Department of Juvenile Justice assigned them to come here.
Jones concluded, “These boys came with no strong expectation of graduating. So, Dana Heath and Gina Smith picked up their records and worked with them to complete their diplomas. Now, one boy is transitioning into independent living, going to West Kentucky Community and Technical College. Another is going into military service. They needed that stepping stone that education provides for a brighter future.”
To learn more, phone Dr. Ricky Burse at (270) 674-6061.