All of them, those in power, and those who want the power, would pamper us, if we agreed to overlook their crookedness by wilfully restricting our activities.
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Seven graduates, including the executive director of the YWCA, received diplomas last night at the first graduation of the first public Narconon drug rehabilitation program in the country.
About 40 attended the ceremony at the YWCA.
Among those graduating were Maryclare Granata, the executive director of the YWCA, and Patrick Healey, an investigator at Legacy, Inc. Healey directed the Narconon program.
Although primarily geared toward detoxified drug addicts, Healey said the program is open to alcoholics or to anyone who needs help.
According to Healey, there has only been one "failure" among the 29 students in the program.
"Some people got so healthy as a result of the program, they didn't wait to finish," said Healey, addressing the audience. "Two joined the Air Force and two went to college. Sixteen are still in the course.
The course is held from 7:30 to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday at the Legacy office on Huntington St. The program began July 17 at the YWCA. After 10 weeks, Narconon moved to Legacyy.
The cost of the course is $50, although Healey said he wouldn't turn away anyone who couldn't afford it. The course has no outside funding, but Healey said he has applied to several funding agencies.
"We've done it without a dime, only with the intention and enthusiasm of the students," he said.
Several of the graduation speakers expressed their skepticism of the program when it first began.
"I have just the highest praise for the whole thing, even though I was skeptical at first," said Mrs. Granata, who joined to evaluate the program for the YWCA. "At first thet kids were reluctant, withdrawn, even afraid to look me in the eye. But they accepted me as a human being.''
Ralph Bergman, the director of Legacy echoed her feelings. "Perhaps I was super-skeptical at first, but it has proven to have merit," said Bergman, as he handed diplomas to graduates.
At one point in the ceremony, a slight rift developed between Healey and the Rev. Gene Hobel of Westchester. N.Y., a minister of the Church of Scientology. Healey disagreed with him when Hobel said to the graduates, "You are Scientologists whether you know it or not. You are using the technology of Scientology."
Healey responded, "I want people to feel that joining Narconon they don't have to join a religion. There is an uptightedness among the people here when you use the word Scientology."
Narconon, an offshoot of the Church of Scientology, is incorporated as a separate organization. Narconon was founded in 1966 by a convict at Arizona State Penitentiary.
In the past, the program has been run at prisons and other institutions. The New London Narconon is the first public program. Today, there are at least 17 Narconon programs in the United States, Mexico and Canada. The course is based on eight communication drills.
A new Narconon program will begin Friday in Waterbury. Several of the New London graduates will attend the Waterbury course for further training.