Gary mayor Karen Freeman Wilson, offers remarks on the history of Gary's drug court program which was started under her as city judge in 1996. | Jeffrey D. Nicholls~Sun-Times Media
Updated: June 19, 2013 6:11AM
GARY — Amid the prayers and song, inspirational speeches and grateful acknowledgements, Gary City Drug Court graduate Cynthia M.’s simple gesture summed it up best.
As she left the podium, Cynthia raised her certificate in celebration and delivered a smile that prompted applause from the packed courtroom Friday afternoon.
She was one of nine graduates at the 39th commencement of the drug court program, successfully completing a year of meetings, drug tests, community service and other requirements.
Cynthia said she entered the program for her “two babies,” sons 12 and 3 years old.
“Sometimes I wonder if I could do this program,” City Court Judge Deidre Monroe confessed to a group that included old and new graduates, their families, elected officials and dignitaries from local, county and state offices.
This ceremony was highlighted by accolades from Chris Deutsch of the National Association of Drug Court Professionals. The association is traveling across the country to recognize 25 outstanding programs and chose Gary from hundreds.
“It is a shining example of why drug courts work,” he said.
Deutsch raised the “All Rise” gavel, which he said symbolizes what happens when people break free from their addictions.
“Then we all rise,” he said.
Hollywood actor Harry Lennix provided the keynote address, telling graduates, “We learn about our limitations, that they can be exceeded if we keep our eyes on the prize.”