NASHVILLE, Tenn (WTVF) — Fifteen years ago, Lipscomb University teamed up with the Debra K. Johnson Rehabilitation Center to offer classes to inmates.
After years of hard work, several of the inmates received master’s degrees.
One those women was Reasha Frazier.
"During this course, I lost my mom and grandmother within nine weeks, that’s hard. I was determined to continue my journey and continue to be a light. Also, be hope for other people because you can get through it," Frazier explained.
Frazier is one of 13 inmates at the Debra K. Johnson Rehabilitation Center graduating with a degree from Lipscomb University through the LIFE Program on Thursday. Some received an associate degree or bachelor's degree
"Lipscomb taught me how to be honest. It taught me how to be vulnerable and funny because humor is what we need. It’s what keeps the misery out," Frazier said.
The LIFE program is for inmates and traditional students. They come together to receive face-to-face instruction from university professors and study together.
Frazier is one of the graduates to receive a Master of Arts in Christian Ministry.
Eight of the inmates graduated with a Master of Arts in Christian Ministry degree and 5 “outside” students also graduated.
Fraizer knows the sacrifices and hard work it took to receive her diploma. It did more than just further her studies — it taught her to never give up.
"Just to think when we came in, we were a part of a statistic. We’re a statistic for real now," Frazier laughed.
Among the graduates this year, four of the women who started in the LIFE program in 2007 earned their master's degree.