Homecoming

2 07 2017

Riverview

2:

Student chooses to graduate inside jail as inspiration

It was a special day at the medium security institution on Hall street in St. Louis. A high school graduation was held inside the jail for one deserving woman.

Mekayla Thomas made history by becoming the first female graduate of the St. Louis 24-hour virtual Workforce High School. The 19-year-old chose to have her celebration behind bars, where she has spent much of the last 3 years.

“I just got butterflies. I felt famous!” said Mekayla Thomas.

Yes, and to top that, you’re now qualified for all those jobs that only require a high school diploma or equivalent.

Wait, what?

Thomas had been in and out of jail for stealing cars and breaking into houses. Then one day she realized a better life was possible.

“Coming back to jail. Tired of coming back and forth since I was 16. Three years of my life in jail,” said Thomas.

Mekayla worked hard with mentors from Workforce High School while in jail and was encouraged by fellow inmates.

The problem with non-traditional high school diplomas is that a high percentage of them are earned while incarcerated. Which means, even among the scant few jobs that only require a high school diploma, the employer will prefer the traditional diploma to a GED or other equivalent, because: (1) If you couldn’t get a diploma in the normal course of adolescent life, it speaks to your poor discipline, and (2) You only got the equivalent because you were in jail or prison, meaning you had no real authority over your day-to-day-existence, meaning that if you weren’t in jail or prison, you probably didn’t have the self-discipline to get the GED just like you didn’t have the self-discipline as a teenager to get the regular diploma.

Mekayla, who was recently released, could have had her graduation at the mayor’s office but she chose cell block 4. So many people signed up to come that they moved it to jail gym.

I’ve never been to jail, so I can’t speak from experience. But, from things I’ve been told, and inferences I can draw from that and other sources, jail is not the kind of place I would want to go back to for any reason once I was let out.  Especially Miss Thomas, since we were just told above how tired she got of the place.

All she’s doing is communicating to the world how she considers jail to be some sort of home atmosphere.  You know how that goes, home is where the heart is. Of course, since she stole cars and broke into houses from the age of 16, it probably means her real home life was shitty. If nothing else, jail provided her with the only stability and discipline she ever had in life up to that point.

Mekayla is also going to college now. She earned a two year scholarship at Forest Park-St. Louis Community College and she says will become a funeral director.

“Funeral director.” Mashed up with all this, and yet, I’m at a loss for a punch line. But I will say this: At least she’ll have steady work — As far as that goes, Bell Curve City never disappoints. In fact, she’ll have a front row seat to the Dynamo of Bell Curve City.

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3 responses

2 07 2017
David In TN

I read somewhere that owning a funeral parlor is a highly respected position in the black community.

3 07 2017
Thomas

It seems that two of the most highly visible and paid jobs in the black community is either a funeral director of pastor of a large church.

It’s funny that this is sold as such a “feel good” story but to me it just underscores black dysfunction.

4 07 2017
Joshua Sinistar (@Joshua06716)

Now that’s she’s a certified functional illiterate, she now aspires to attend Nigger University and spawn enough sprogs to have one grow up to be a gum wrapper or Basketcase-Amerikwan.




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