Success at the Bridgeport Correctional Center-Hear from Teachers and Students
“I feel like this is my calling,” says Sheila Yale, a GED instructor at the Bridgeport Correctional Center in Bridgeport, TX.
“I guess a lot of times,” she continues, “just about every day, in fact, the guys ask me, ‘have you ever taught before?’ And, yes, I have. They say, ‘well, how is this job compared to that?’ And I tell them, ‘this is the best job I’ve ever had.'”
Scott McPherson is the facility’s education principal.
“It is one of the most rewarding jobs that I’ve ever had,” he says. “I show up each day with a group of teachers that do not ever question their role; they love their role, they’re excited about their role. And the offenders, or students, are just as excited.”
“I want to go to a trade school for auto mechanics,” explains resident Larry Culverhouse. “And you can’t without a GED or high school diploma. So, this, in turn, has helped me achieve that goal.”
Michael Gallardo is also a successful student.
“Well, I learned a lot about myself,” he says. “I’m not going to lie: earning my GED was a hard thing to do. I got frustrated, and I would get upset with myself, but my teachers pushed me, and they worked with me. They kept me motivated, so that I could obtain something that can’t be taken from me. With that, I have an example that I can set for my daughter now, for her to pursue her education as well.”
“I’m here to give them the tools,” says Ms. Yale, “to learn math and English and all of those things. But, also, how to live; just how to be a good person, how to be a good citizen.”
Mr. Gallardo was asked what advice he’d give new residents who come to the Bridgeport facility.
“I would give them the advice to take advantage of the GED program here. As well as every other education opportunity they offer. You have the time to take advantage of these things, and it doesn’t cost you a penny. Any type of education that you can attain, it’s something that you can’t lose upon incarceration. Out there in the world, we lose a lot of things: families, relationships, things of that nature. But you cannot lose your education. They can’t take it from you.”
“The classes are full,” reports Principal McPherson. “The teachers are excited. And we have got great things going on at Bridgeport Correctional Center.”
About Bridgeport Correctional Center
Bridgeport Correctional Center is accredited by the American Correctional
Association—achieving 100% compliance for both mandatory and non-mandatory
standards in its most recent audit. Other accreditations and certifications include the
Correctional Education Association and the Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA).