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History in the Making: 
Hudson Link Students Earn First Degrees through Columbia-Greene Community College

Greene Class of 2019 pictured here with supporters from DOCCS, CG-CC, and HL

2019 is off to a record-breaking start as we celebrate the first graduating class at Greene Correctional Facility! On Thursday January 17th, we watched as 13 men became the first-ever graduates to earn associate degrees from Columbia-Greene Community College through Hudson Link.

The event was kicked off with addresses by Acting Commissioner Anthony Annucci and Lee Cruceta, Hudson Link's  Academic Coordinator for Greene Correctional Facility. Acting Commissioner Annucci is a frequent audience member at graduations across New York State correctional facilities, and is always eager to display his dedication to education reform inside prisons. Hudson Link team member Lee Cruceta also gave a moving speech to his students, commending the graduates for their hard work and encouraging those students still working towards their degrees. 

Valedictorian Terrance gives his speech to a tearful audience
During the poignant student speeches, Salutatorian Deepak thanked his parents for being there to see him graduate and hoped to make them proud with his new diploma. Terrance, Valedictorian of the Class of 2019, summarized his college experience in a way that resonated with his classmates as well as the audience members. 

"When I enrolled in the Hudson Link college program," Terrance shared, "I experienced a scholastic evolution beyond my earlier conceptions. Liberal arts subjects allowed my imagination to soar, while conventional curricula kept me grounded with hard facts. Through my studies I became aware of my capabilities along with my limitations." 

The staff at Greene, DOCCS representatives, CGCC faculty, and everyone at Hudson Link could not be more proud of the Class of 2019. Our program at Greene is one of our newest, and also serves the youngest overall student population of any of our college programs. While this graduation is the first, it certainly will not be the last. Congrats Hudson Link/CG-CC Class of 2019! 

Lee Cruceta enjoys a goofy moment with the grads

If you would like to read more about this momentous graduation, check out Columbia-Greene's media announcement from earlier this month!
Four Hudson Link Students Awarded Commutation by Governor Cuomo
Superintendent Capra (far left), Sean Pica (far right), and Joel Jimenez (second from right), pictured here with three returning students (left to right): Andre, Eugene, and Dennis

Every year, the New York Governor's office presents the opportunity for incarcerated men and women to apply for executive clemency. Individuals selected for this recognition have displayed remorse for their past actions, clear signs of rehabilitation and a dedication to improving their communities. 

On December 31st, Governor Cuomo announced the 29 names of those who would receive such recognition this year - a list that included the names of four Hudson Link students. Andre Jenkins, Eugene Bush, Alphonse Riley-James, and Dennis Woodbine all received commutations of sentence based on demonstrated evidence of rehabilitation, including the completion of their college degrees. "They will return to their communities,"   the press released stated, "and help serve as essential credible messengers to reduce crime throughout New York State."

On January 28th, Hudson Link staff hosted family members, professors, board members, even Superintendent Capra and Dan Slepian from Dateline as they gathered in our office to welcome the students home! In a joyous, chaotic, and deeply touching reunion, the men and their loved ones got the chance to sit down and relax while getting their Hudson Link laptops and perusing our alumni wardrobe. 

Asked for comment on the Governor's announcement, Sean Pica said:

" We commend and thank Governor Cuomo for believing in the ripple effects that formerly incarcerated people can have on their families, communities, and society at large. It takes real courage and faith to exercise this executive power. We look forward to witnessing these men and women, who have worked so hard with such dedication to personal improvement, demonstrate how much good they will do given this second chance."

We at Hudson Link could not be more proud of these men. They are not only exemplary students and mentors, but they have all worked hard towards a commendation of this magnitude. Congratulations to these students and their families! 

Read more about the Governor's clemency initiative here.
Support Education: Join the Spring Benefit Committee Today!  

Help Hudson Link celebrate another year of growth, and ensure the future of higher education where it is needed most, by joining the 2019 Spring Benefit Committee!

The evening's program promises to be filled with messages of inspiration, hope, and transformation.

Benefit Committee membership provides direct support for our college programs, and comes with benefits and special recognition before and during the event. For more information on the specific perks and packages offered, visit our Benefit Committee signup page. The deadline is just two weeks away, so make sure to  join today!

 Hudson Link 20th Anniversary T-Shirts Officially Vintage: Get One Today! 

If you missed our special merchandise announcement last year, today's your lucky day!  In November we rolled out a brand new t-shirt design, created by one of Hudson Link's own alumni, in order to commemorate the organization's 20th anniversary. The shirts are colorful, super-soft, and limited edition, and we still have some left! 

If you want to look as cool as our staff while representing this exciting Hudson Link milestone, get yours here!
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