EL PASO, Texas — The tune of "Pomp and Circumstance" played on speakers inside of Criminal Courtroom No. 2 on Thursday evening.
"We have seven beautiful people who are graduating here. They are not in trouble,” a speaker with the El Paso County DWI Drug Court Intervention Program said.
The program’s December class has seven graduates accept certificates of completion tonight. One of them was Lupe Hererra.
"This program is successful because it helps you a lot,” Hererra said. “They have counselors. They help you in some many ways to grow as a person."
The program started back in 2004 for first offenders arrested on DWI charges.
"When a person is offered our program, they take a plea to a DWI offense,” Leticia Medina, program coordinator, said. "We created this program to stop recidivism of DWIs in our community."
Since then, close to 500 people have graduated the program. The program coordinator says this month's class has an important meaning.
"This month, December, is Alcohol Awareness Month. So, to us, it's very special to have graduation,” Medina said.
"I'm the program coordinator. I do the intake. When I do the intake, all I see is denial. Life unmanageable. Tonight was I see is the outcome of what our team offers to these participants which is intense supervision and treatment."
These graduations are also for the families of those who complete the program.
"My family's happy,” Herrera said. “They're like, 'Wow! You did it,' because they knew I was kind of fearful."
But, the program hopes these graduates can serve as reminder this holiday season.
"Don't get behind the wheel,” Medina said. “Because not only will you destroy your life, your family,maybe you'll destroy an innocent that is on the streets."
The program says it also offers counseling to family members of people who are in the DWI treatment program. It prides itself on being able to help anyone who is effected by DWI.