CHAPARRAL, NM (KTSM): The Otero County Prison Facility held a graduation ceremony for 17 residents who graduated with a GED/HISET certification, HVAC certification, INEA certification, or a college degree last week.

Resident Hartman (left) was one of the graduates who received a college degree. (Otero County Prison Facility)

Mr. Hartman, a resident of the facility and graduate who received his HVAC certification and a certification in biblical studies addressed his classmates during the ceremony.

“I feel proud of what I’ve accomplished, it was hard and it took a lot of dedication. I never thought about going to school while being in prison, but we had a lot of support so it was doable.”  said Hartman.

The facility said he also thanked his instructors and his wife who is an educator. 

Resident Hartman was a speaker at Friday’s graduation, he was one of the 17 graduates who received his HVAC certification as well as his certificate in biblical studies. (Otero County Prison Facility)
OCPF HVAC graduates; OCPF has a partnership with Dona Ana Community College to offer the 18-month program to residents of Otero I. (Otero County Prison Facility)

The prison facility has a partnership with Dona Ana Community College, Mesalands Community College, and the Department of Adult Education of Mexico which are the agencies that offer the certifications to the residents.

NM State Rep. Willie Madrid alongside Otero I Warden Rios congratulated the graduates at Friday’s ceremony. (Otero County Prison Facility)

New Mexico State Representative for District 53, Willie Madrid, also spoke at Friday’s ceremony. The facility said he congratulated the graduates and encouraged them to keep on moving forward despite the setbacks they faced while in prison.

NM State Rep. Willie Madrid spoke at Friday’s graduation giving those residents words of encouragement. (Otero County Prison Facility)

“We are ready for you in the outside world, hold faith and keep on believing in yourselves,” State Rep. Madrid said to residents. 

The prison facility says the ceremony was held in one of the recreation areas of the facility. Warden Rios, Deputy Warden Simmons, and Captain Ochoa were in attendance as well as other staff members of the facility.  Due to restrictions family members of the graduates were not able to attend but the facility says each graduate dedicated their accomplishments to their loved ones.

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