Newsroom > DHHS News Release

For Immediate Release
April 19, 2016

Contact Russ Reno, Communications and Legislative Services, (office) 402-471-8287 or
(cell) 402-450-7318, or

YRTC-K Youth Earn High School Diplomas, Graduation held Friday

Kearney – Mark LaBouchardiere, facility administrator at the Department of Health and Human Services’ Youth Rehabilitation and Treatment Center in Kearney, announced that two boys currently living at the facility reached a milestone, receiving their high school diplomas Friday (April 15). 

“This is a major achievement for these two boys and they are understandably proud,” said LaBouchardiere, who started at the YRTC-K on April 11.   “It’s an honor to recognize them for their perseverance and hard work.”

LaBouchardiere and the two youth were joined by family members and friends, Kearney Mayor Stan Clouse, Principal John McArthur, as well as other staff and teachers from campus for the ceremony and reception.

The boys graduated from West Kearney High School, an on-campus special purpose junior/high school accredited by the Nebraska Department of Education and the North Central Association of Schools and Colleges.  The school operates year-round and youth attend daily. 

“The boys here want to succeed and want to return home,” said LaBouchardiere.  “We help them by providing the tools necessary for that to happen, including opportunities in the community.”  He said that during the last fiscal year, for example, 79 YRTC-K youth groups performed 8,532 community service hours for 27 local organizations. 

One of the parents who attended said this of her son and the ceremony:  “I am so, so proud to be able to be here to see him accomplish this goal and know that if he sets his mind to it, he will soar!  Thanks for being a part of this journey.”

One of the teachers at West Kearney High School said: “These are special occasions in our school, on our campus and most importantly in the lives of young men that have overcome many challenges to finally graduate from high school!”

Another West Kearney High School teacher stated:  “The families seem to enjoy the graduation ceremony, party, and celebration.  I like that we take photos that the youth can have later in life when they reflect on their lives.” 

Youth are placed at the YRTC through a court order because they have committed an offense and have not been successful in a community placement.  In addition to educational services, youth at the YRTC receive therapy and treatment services, giving them the opportunity to become law abiding citizens.