While the superstitious might find it unlucky to associate Friday and 13, don't worry about the latest graduates from the 28th Judicial Adult Drug Court. They are all about beating the odds.

Ricky Sears, Kaelan Scharklet, Charles Abney, Whitney Brooks, Nate Clark, Emilee Boggs, Ginger Ard, Amanda Rosegrant, Josh Godbey, Rudy Randolph, Christopher Dick, Alisha Oakes and Mollie Brown comprised the largest class in recent memory. Combined with the seven who graduated in May, a total of 20 completed the program this year -- mostly in a virtual setting as the program dealt with Covid restrictions.

Featured speakers at Friday's graduation ceremony were Kentucky Supreme Court Justice Debra Hembree Lambert and program graduate Mark Calhoun.

Justice Lambert was instrumental in establishing drug court for local juveniles when she was the circuit's first Family Court Judge. Today the 28th Circuit has two, Judges Marcus Vanover and Jane Adams Venters, who have presided over the adult Drug Court for the last two years. The justice applauded the "truly volunteer work" they've done.

"They do this because they believe in you all…," Justice Lambert told the graduates. "I get to slide in here and pat you all on the back and share in your joy. You should feel joyful and you should feel proud. Certainly we feel that for you."

Calhoun movingly shared how he went from starting methamphetamine at just 14 years old to becoming a welding instructor at Somerset Community College.

"This is where it begins…," Calhoun said of graduating Drug Court. "Now is your time to start over, and I trust you'll do well."

In order to encourage other program participants, the graduates each spoke about a particular inspirational word as they were called to get their certificates.

Nate Clark never shared the word he'd been assigned but spoke about what Drug Court had done for him.

"This program is amazing; it's changed my life…," Clark said. "I can tell you, if you just give a little bit in the beginning, it's going to give you so much more. I've family members back, trust that I never thought I'd ever regain, and the life that I have today is completely different from what I lived in the beginning and the past 20-some odd years."

Emilee Boggs spoke of acceptance, and how she had at first resisted participation in Drug Court. She credited her participation with having her daughter back, working and preparing to get married.

"This program offers you the chance to live life on life's terms while maintaining how to stay sober and what to do, your personal responsibility," Boggs said.

In describing faith, Josh Godbey talked about getting a second chance after backsliding in the program.

"At a time when I had so little faith in myself…these guys still had faith in me," Godbey said. "For the people just coming into this, if I have any advice at all, it would be to have faith in yourself and this program."

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