LOWNDES CO., GA (WALB) - Wiregrass Georgia Technical College is trying to help inmates get a college education in horticulture.
The college began the pilot program in 2013 after being approached by officials at Valdosta State Prison, and the first group of inmates had officially graduated as of Wednesday. The inmates actually graduated in December, 2014 but the announcement was not made until Wednesday because of the amount of paper work the prison had to complete for each inmate's name and information to be released.
The students took one class every semester for five semesters, studying everything from plant names to pest control and will be able to get jobs as certified landscape technicians when they are released.
Professor Kerry Watts said he enjoyed teaching the class. "Every day, the guys came in ready to learn. They want a better life. They just made a simple mistake that made them end up where they are. But, they all wanted to improve themselves," Watts explained.
As of Wednesday, Watts hoped to begin the next session in the Fall of 2015.