HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WDAM) - It was an emotional day Friday for the 64 graduates of the 15th Judicial District Drug Court.
"Having a second chance to be a parent to my kids is what the drug court has done for me,” one graduate said to the crowd.
Drug Court is a program with several requirements that is taken as an alternative to jail time. The men and women in this program fought long and hard to be able to walk across the stage at Main Street Baptist Church in Hattiesburg and start a new life.
One graduate said being there for her family is what drove her to finish the program.
"I didn’t want to fail, because when you have kids and they mean the most to you and you fail them, it’s very hard. You just have to pick up, because I did fall one time and I had to pick myself back up,” said graduate Martha Sanders.
Another graduate said that a stable support system is essential for this program.
"My relationship with God, changing my environment, which includes people, places and things, having a good support group. My family, the case workers, people in the community that saw I was trying to make a difference in my life,” said graduate Joshua McClendon.
Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith served as the guest speaker at the graduation.
"I just want to be here today to rejoice in the blessings of all of these people that made this work for you,” Smith said to the crowd.
The 15th Judicial District serves Jefferson Davis County, Lamar County, Lawrence County, Marion County and Pearl River County.