12 Correctional Center Women snag college degrees while behind bars

Published: Aug. 14, 2019 at 7:15 PM CDT
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Twelve women from the Nebraska Correctional Center for Women graduated Wednesday with their Associates Degree from York College.

The Second Chance Program give women a second chance at life. The determined dozen say it wasn't always easy to get to graduation day.

"I said to myself, this would be a great program for someone who is smart enough to do it. I said I was not smart enough to pass the test and I was not responsible enough for such a commitment," said LaToya Nicole Ross, Correctional Center Graduate.

One by one, they received their diplomas, shared their stories and shed a tear or two.

"There were so many things in my life I had never completed, like raising my son, being there for my family when they needed me the most. At that moment I had counted myself out. I only say myself as number 98730, continued Ross.

The program also brought families together again.

"The Second Chance Program not only allowed me to get my college degree but brought me closer to my family," said Elisa Seastrong.

"They say it is a second chance program and it definitely helped bring us closer together. It was great seeing her up there, she was confident, I am proud of her," said Daughter Tiera Austin.

Seeletter Livingston, Recent Graduate says "It feels amazing, probably one of my greatest accomplishments in life."

But as York is a Christian College, that influence they say was a determining factor in them not giving up.

"Thanks to the Second Chance Program for giving me this opportunity. I will no longer count myself out. With that being said, I would like to re-introduce myself. Hello, I am LaToya Nicole Ross. I am a mother, sister, granddaughter and a friend and I am a York College graduate."

The success of this program has many other women at the correctional center signing up.