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Antoinette Perry is a current ACE student, studying Criminal Justice. Antoinette entered the workforce as a nursing assistant, but quickly learned health care was not for her. Far more suited for corrections, she applied for an opening in a nearby correctional facility, was hired for the job, and has enjoyed a 20 year career first as an officer and now with the rank of sergeant. Her experience includes working with female inmates and in the prison records department.

But to move up in rank, Antoinette needs an associate degree. Her career ambitions coincided with her sister’s entrance to ACE, and Antoinette applied. “When we told our Mom we were both in college, she cried. She always encouraged us to pursue education.” The sisters are both studying Criminal Justice and support each other, learning together through each class and assignment; even editing one another’s writing!

Antoinette has a long term goal of becoming a juvenile probation officer. “I want to prevent youth from ever entering the system.” The youth she sees on a daily basis at work were tried as adults. Through her classes and studies Antoinette now understands sentencing law, but there remains an injustice here to right. “The jail is full of children, some of whom don’t fully comprehend their sentences or why they’re there and not in school.” This is where her experience and studies come together. She is able to equip youth with an understanding of the process, their eligibility for parole, and questions to ask of the public defender, judge, and district attorney. For these youth, Antoinette serves as a social worker, teacher, mother figure, and legal guide. She even taught one young man to read whose letters from home had been unopened and piled under his mattress.

While working full time during the day, Antoinette takes her classes on-site at Deliverance Church in the evening. There she is able to focus and enjoy the support of wonderful staff members who are always ensuring students have everything they need to succeed.

And succeed you will, Sergeant Perry. Graduation is around the corner!