Once Troubled Youths Defy the Odds

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Washington, D.C. Mayor Adrian M. Fenty and the DC Department of Youth Rehabilitation (DYRS), the District’s cabinet level juvenile justice agency, recently celebrated the graduation of several resident students from the Maya Angelou Academy at the DYRS – New Beginnings Youth Development Center in Laurel, Md.

Commencement exercises honored students who’ve earned their high school diploma and GED over the past year.

The accomplishment provides youth involved in the court system an opportunity to consider attending college. The commencement speaker was Jelani Freeman, a former foster youth and employee of DYRS, and a recent Howard University Law School graduate.

The Maya Angelou Academy is part of the See Forever network of schools, which includes three Maya Angelou Public Charter School campuses; the Maya Angelou Academy and the Maya Angelou Transition Center. The network’s mission is to create learning communities in low-income neighborhoods for students who have underperformed in traditional school settings.