By TARA ALATORRE
CAMP VERDE – Graduation time is here, and while most families will gather on football fields and inside stadiums to celebrate, one local incarcerated student celebrated earning his high school diploma at the Camp Verde Detention Center.
Zachary McQuillen, 21, is the first ever graduate of the Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office (YCSO) School District and High School. He completed his high school course studies while in custody and was presented with his certified diploma last week.
“Congratulations to Zachary as the first Detention Center High School graduate and for the wiliness to dedicate his custody time to achieving this goal,” YCSO stated in a press release on May 22.
The YCSO’s Detention Center High School was established in 2016, and is managed through YCSO’s School District with oversite from the Arizona Department of Education (ADE) and the Yavapai County Education Service Agency.
“The school employs a full-time instructional specialist Mary Bordes, who is the general education teacher and teaches inmates high school courses,” YCSO spokesman Dwight D’Evelyn said. “Although education opportunities were available prior to that date.”
It is managed by a school board of directors comprised of YCSO Sheriff Scott Mascher, YCSO Chief Deputy David Rhodes and YCSO Detention Services Division Captain Jeff Newnum. YCSO Lieutenant Brian Silvernale is the superintendent and Kristi Hambrick is the principal.
Despite many inmates taking advantage of the high school at the Camp Verde Detention Center, many of its students are released prior to completing their credits to graduate, according to YCSO.
“Even so all their work will transfer to outside programs, so the incentive remains to take advantage of this in-custody high school,” YCSO stated.
The high school also offers a Special Education instructor, Daria Weir and a psychologist Joe Donaldson for the development and implementation of individualized education plans also known as IEPs.
Funding is provided through ADE and the Yavapai County Education Service Agency for the provision of special education services to qualifying inmates. Funding for general education services is provided by YCSO’s budget and cooperation with local libraries.
For more information visit ycsoAZ.gov or call 928-771-3260.