Forrest and Perry County Drug Court graduation is Monday, Nov. 16

November 12, 2009

The 12th Circuit Adult Drug Court will celebrate a graduation at 4 p.m. Monday, Nov. 16, at the Lake Terrace Convention Center in Hattiesburg.

Fifteen people are expected to graduate. Each is expected to take a turn at the microphone to briefly tell about their experiences.

Drug Court Coordinator Lucy Bates Davenport said, “They are each going to tell a little of their story.”

“All Rise” is the theme of the graduation ceremony. “All Rise” is also the title of a public awareness campaign launched in July 2009 by the National Association of Drug Court Professionals (NADCP). The traditional words uttered for centuries by bailiffs opening court became the mantra of Drug Courts, but with a different meaning.

“When we help one person, we all rise,” said Circuit Judge Bob Helfrich, who presides over the 12th Circuit Adult Drug/DUI Court in Forrest and Perry counties.

“When a drug court participant gets clean and sober, we all rise. When a drug court graduate never sees another jail cell, we all rise,” NADCP Chief Executive Officer C. West Huddleston III said in an introduction on the web site

The idea for the “All Rise” campaign was born in a Jackson, Mississippi, courtroom. Huddleston got the idea when a Hinds County bailiff opened a Dec. 9, 2008, graduation, at which he was guest speaker. “It struck me how ‘all rise’ actually speaks to the inherent good in everyone in the courtroom, no matter their condition,” Huddleston said. “‘All rise’ also demands that the justice system help them. And finally, as I watched the drug court graduates receive their certificates and their families hugged them and people came to their feet to celebrate their recovery, that those two worlds – ‘all rise’ – frankly describe what you do every day in drug court.”

Actors Tom Arnold, John C. McGinley and Martin Sheen, musicians Elliot Easton, Slash, and Dallas Taylor were among the cast of celebrities and public officials who recorded 36 of the “All Rise” public service announcements.

The PSAs may be viewed at