12 for Life® Celebrates Graduates in Florence

May 25, 2018

On Tuesday, May 22, 12 for Life® held its annual commencement ceremony for the program’s Florence, Ala., operations.

12 for Life, a collaborative partnership that began in Carrollton, Ga., between Southwire and Carroll County Schools in 2007, provides classroom instruction, on-the-job training, key work/life skills, mentoring and employment opportunities. Through 12 for Life, students are motivated to stay in school, graduate and move ahead to become successful, productive members of the communities in which they live.

The program’s Florence location currently has 87 student participants who work with Southwire and other community business partners. The Florence program has received several accolades and four national recognitions, including the Whole Child Initiative award.

12 for Life will recognize 388 graduates for 2018, including 43 students from the Florence location, 190 students from Carroll, Haralson and Heard County Schools, 82 through the Great Promise Partnership and 73 from Textron Specialized Vehicles, Inc.’s Reaching Potential Through Manufacturing (RPM) program in Richmond County, Ga. These graduates mark a total of nearly 2,500 students who have completed 12 for Life to date.

The 2018 ceremony was hosted at the Marriott Shoals Hotel and Convention Center. Attendees included students, teachers, parents, school system representatives, Southwire employees, community leaders and friends.

The graduation event was led by Mrs. Marsha Smith, 12 for Life operations manager, Southwire, and Dr. Corey Behel, director of partnerships and 12 for Life, Florence City Schools. The keynote address for the ceremony was presented by Kathleen Edge, executive vice president of Human Resources for Southwire, who inspired students to let go of limitations and choose to dwell in possibilities.

“You have already accomplished so much by being here today, but I want you to know that 12 for Life is only one step in your journey,” said Edge. “Each of you have a unique journey that’s yours. The key is to not limit yourself, and don’t give the power to others to limit you.”

In addition to the recognition of each graduate, several awards and scholarships were granted during the ceremony. The annual awards for Mr. and Miss Southwire for 2018 were presented to Terry McKelvey and Maribel Valdez for their dedication, attitude and achievements through the program. The Most Dedicated Employee recognition was presented to Andrew Walker and Janet Nixon, and Irving Reynoso was honored with the award for outstanding leadership. Austin Briggum was chosen to receive the Resilience Award, and the Endurance Award went to Samuel Clayton.

Representatives from Northwest-Shoals Community College (NWSCC), the University of North Alabama (UNA) and the Alabama F.A.M.E. (Federation for Advanced Manufacturing Education) Advanced Manufacturing Technician Program (AMT) presented scholarships to qualifying students. Receiving the scholarships from NWSCC were Gary Fields and William Sanchez. Emily Marks was presented with a scholarship to UNA, and Terry McKelvey was awarded the scholarship to Alabama F.A.M.E AMT.

Leaders of the program also honored several community members who volunteer throughout the year and provide additional support to the students. The event closed with encouraging remarks by Zach Taylor, plant manager for Southwire’s Florence facilities.

For additional information on 12 for Life, email info@12forlife.com.

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