DEARBORN, Mich. -

The Dearborn Police Department will host on Saturday the 3rd annual graduation ceremony for students who attended the 2013 Dearborn Police Youth Academy.

The Youth Academy is a course of instruction that is attended by Dearborn high school students who wish to improve their life skills, critical thinking and conflict resolution techniques, which will allow them to become more responsible citizens.

According to the department, the students are selected by Dearborn high school administrators based on scholastic, athletic or community achievement and their desire to pursue a career in the area of criminal justice.

"The students selected for the Youth Academy are considered to be mature, civic-minded teenagers with a strong interest in law enforcement and the community in which they live," said Dearborn Public Schools Superintendent Brian Whiston, who assisted in establishing the program.

Dearborn Mayor John B. O'Reilly, Jr. endorsed the goals of the program and praised the students involved.

"Teenagers who have more information, and more opportunities to broaden their awareness and expand their life experiences are going to be better equipped to participate in, and contribute to, the life of our community," said O'Reilly. "The police department is doing a great job with this program, which is made more successful through the efforts of our partners."

The Youth Academy is a joint initiative with the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, Dearborn Public Schools and the Dearborn Police Department. The academy is conducted in two sessions on consecutive Saturdays, wrapping up on May 4 with the graduation ceremony of 32 students.

The curriculum includes a brief history of the Dearborn Police Department and its mission, an overview of the criminal justice system, and the value of continuing education.

"The Youth Academy gives these students a tremendous opportunity to better themselves as citizens by promoting civic duty and responsibility," said Chief Haddad.

"The lessons learned and taught at the academy, which includes instruction on community policing and the benefits of volunteering in the community, promotes many of the same ideals as the ADC," said Imad Hamad, the national advisor and regional director of the ADC and who also co-founded the academy program.

Chief Haddad said because of the high participation level and potential benefits of the program, the Youth Academy will likely continue for many years to come.

The 3rd annual graduation ceremony will take place at 3 p.m. on Saturday, May 4.