First high school graduation ceremony since 2020 was held recently at CUCF

It was a graduation ceremony three years in the making. Literally.

The first high school graduation ceremony since 2020 was held recently at the Central Utah Correctional Facility in Gunnison. Officials from the Central Utah Academy celebrated not only the 29 graduates from the Class of 2023, but also took the time to highlight the 14 graduates from 2021 and the 16 from 2022.

The pandemic caused challenges, officials noted, but students overcame them to be where they were today – wearing graduation regalia and accepting diplomas.

“This is a testament to your fortitude,” said Ralph Squire, Superintendent of the South Sanpete School District, which operates Central Utah Academy.

During his speech, Guy Gabaldon, 49, challenged his fellow graduates to “never stop learning.”

“This is just the beginning to a new chapter in our lives,” he added. “Good luck to you all.”

Anthony Blauer, a counselor at the academy, read the graduates a poem about wreckers and builders, stating that he saw those gathered this day were the latter.

“You guys have all shown to me that you’re a builder,” he said. “You’re building your own lives.”

The Utah Department of Corrections operates CUCF and the Utah State Correctional Facility in Salt Lake City. In addition to high school courses, both facilities offer technical and college courses to incarcerated individuals.

CUCF houses up to 1,800 male inmates. We want to thank all UDC staff for encouraging incarcerated individuals and providing the means for them to pursue education while under our supervision. Without your help, we would be unable to offer these opportunities.