On April 21st, 2013, we saw the graduation of three of our students down in Kent, Washington. We were blessed to have both Kent’s John Volken Academy CEO and a student weigh in on the emotional evening. Here are their stories:

Kent John Volken Academy’s CEO Steve Dalton writes…

To say that the evening of Sunday, April 21st, 2013 was remarkable and extraordinarily memorable does not begin to do it justice. A hundred-plus family, friends, students, and John Volken Academy e staff gathered at the brand-new, Kent, Washington John Volken Academy campus to celebrate the graduation of three of our brothers from the John Volken Academy.

After dining on a broad assortment of dishes and desserts, the ceremony began.  There were tears of joy and laughter, along with stories that were shared that finally had overwhelmingly happy endings, and, yes, moving words by our founder and managing director, John Volken Academy, as each graduate was presented with his diploma.

After an evening that included special music, it was difficult for guests to slowly move out to their respective homes. The obvious common denominator displayed by all– a bright, glowing smile, and heartfelt wave.


One of our students, M., writes of the emotional impact in watching others achieve what he’s working so hard to do himself…

There are only a handful of events in my life that have changed the way I think, my outlook on the future, and the way I carry myself.

Graduation was a night I will never forget.

It is hard to put into words the raw emotion that I felt and experienced, seeing three graduates give their testimony of this program, and truly feeling the joy and relief their families expressed, knowing all three have the tools to change the world.  It gives me the strength and commitment to graduate someday myself, and be able to inspire the younger brothers to continue on their journey.

I am becoming a man of integrity and positivity, and was blessed to be the first to greet guests as they arrived for graduation. I cannot remember a time in my life where I have felt so loved or laughed so hard with individuals I just met. We all work hard every day to change our lives, and seeing those three graduates complete this program validates that, if they can do it, then so can I.