In my new role as a photographer for NYU, I had the opportunity to capture the very first graduation of the NYU Prison Education Program. I truly admire the hard work and dedication of these students and the staff and faculty who have put this program together!
Graduate Roy Burvick chats with NYU President Andrew Hamilton. This is the first graduation for NYU's Prison Education Program.
Roy placed the program from his mother's funeral on a seat at his graduation.
Graduate Khalan Pendelton meets NYU President Andrew Hamilton. The program offers credit-bearing courses and educational programming.
The graduates completed their coursework while incarcerated at Wallkill Correctional Facility.
New York University President Andrew Hamilton makes his address.
Ryan Burrell receives his diploma from President Hamilton. The graduates earned Associate of Arts Degrees from New York University in Liberal Studies.
The graduates celebrate after receiving their diplomas.
Graduate Danis Flores proudly displays his diploma after walking the stage.
The program supports graduates like Ryan after they've been released by facilitating financial aid, credit-transfers and continuing education.
“It feels excellent to graduate,” Ryan said to a reporter from the Washington Square News. “It’s an honor, NYU, the best college in the state. I feel like a king. I feel like a champ. I feel like a winner.”
Danis Flores is congratulated by his fellow graduates after making his speech.
“Today I’m glad to say I’ve got a new set of eyes. After 28 years on this earth, I finally know the point of education and I’m addicted to it,” Vincent Thompson said in his graduation speech.
Vincent shows off his suit under his graduation gown. He has been released from Wallkill but came back for graduation, which he said was difficult, but he was glad that he did. He's working with program staff to continue his education at NYU's main campus.
Ryan, right, also returned to Wallkill for graduation after his release. “We started in the program together, we’re going to graduate together, we wanted to go out right,” he said to a Washington Square News reporter.
Khalan gets a celebratory kiss after the ceremony.
Danis Flores is embraced by family after the ceremony. “I’ve been given a second chance,” Danis said. “I want to make something out of myself. I need to become somebody.”
New York University President Andrew Hamilton chats with Anthony Stevens, a current student in the NYU Prison Education Program.
Graduate Ryan Burrell shakes hands with New York University President Andrew Hamilton after the ceremony.