Poarch Band of Creek Indians
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Ingram State holds largest commencement ceremonies in history

Elemore, AL — J.F. Ingram State Technical College (ISTC) hosts the largest graduation ceremony in history, celebrating students who received their technical certificate of completion, GED, or high school diploma on May 3 and 6.

“Everyone graduating today is a daughter, son, mother, or father, but most importantly a fellow Alabamian and future neighbor,” said Ingram State Technical College President Annette Funderburk. “Upon release, these individuals will have the skills and education they need to find meaningful employment and give back to their communities.”

Ingram State President Annette Funderburk congratulates graduates as they walk across the stage to accept their certificate.

Ingram State celebrated the accomplishments of 265 students across 16 locations through a hybrid-model graduation. Male graduates and their families joined together for satellite ceremonies at seven locations across the state. Female graduates were recognized during an in-person ceremony at Draper Instructional Service Center on Monday. Draper Instructional Service Center served as the primary location, streaming the commencement to the outside locations. Each graduate was recognized individually and streamed across the College.

Ron Houston of the Alabama Community College System (ACCS) Board of Trustees served as the commencement speaker for the male graduation ceremony held on Friday. Mr. Houston emphasized the pursuit of successful reentry and how today is a milestone in their overall journey to success.


J.F. Graduates look forward as President Annette Funderburk gives introductory remarks. 231 students graduated during Friday’s commencement ceremony.

“You have been able to accomplish what more than half of Alabama hasn’t,” said Trustee Houston said to the graduates. “Fifty-three percent of Alabamians do not have higher education certifications and credentials. Today is one of many milestones in your pursuit towards life beyond reentry.”

Poarch Band of Creek Indian Tribal Chairwoman Stephanie A. Bryan was featured as the commencement speaker for the female graduation ceremony held on Monday. Chairwoman Bryan spoke to the graduates about how the persevering the adversity and overcoming everyday obstacles to reach your ultimate potential.


Alabama Community College System Board of Trustee Member Ron Houston.

“One person who won’t accept barriers to education can make a difference,” said Chairwoman Bryan. “Your education is your superpower, and it is the lifetime gift you have given yourself because it allows you to continually become the better version of yourself. I believe that the lessons you have learned at JF Ingram will not only serve you well, they will also allow you to serve others when the opportunity arises.”

Graduation is a pivotal point in the prison to workforce pipeline where students receive a quality education, gain hands-on experience through on-the-job training, transition to full-time in-field employment through the ADOC work release program, and are released with the tools and skills needed to join the Alabama workforce.


Poarch Band of Creek Indian Tribal Chairwoman Stephanie A. Bryan congratulates the cohort of graduates, applauding them on their success and reflecting on her own education experience.

For nearly 60 years, J.F. Ingram State Technical College has provided quality skills training and career technical programming to the justice-involved in Alabama. According to the Vera Institute, offenders who participate in correctional education are forty-eight percent less likely to return to prison compared to those who do not participate in correctional education.

J.F. Ingram State Technical College is a fully accredited member of the Alabama Community College System serving incarcerated students exclusively. The College offers training in 21 career and technical programs.


Women from Julia Tutwiler Prison for Women wait to be awarded their certificates from J.F. Ingram State Technical College.

Video interviews and b-roll footage available via link here.


Kristin Hellmich
(251) 359-8554

About the Poarch Band of Creek Indians:

The Poarch Band of Creek Indians is the only federally recognized tribe in Alabama. From hospitality to aerospace, we continue to operate in a variety of industries across the World. Read more about our Tribe here.

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