Cadets who graduate from the Mountaineer ChalleNGe Academy, and meet all of the requirements that come with that, are now eligible to receive high school diplomas from their home schools.

Up until now, Mountaineer ChalleNGe Academy graduates have been limited to GEDs.

“Our school is definitely designed for the students who are academically at risk, have gotten off the path a little bit, to get back on.  But this is a harder path,” ChalleNGe Academy Admissions Counselor Nick Austin said on Friday’s MetroNews Talkline.

The mission of the Mountaineer ChalleNGe Academy, which is run through the West Virginia National Guard, is to train and mentor selected at risk students using eight core components in a quasi military environment.

Those core components are academic excellence, life coping skills, job skills, health and hygiene, responsible citizenship, service to the community, leadership and followership and physical fitness.

The training happens over 22 weeks at Camp Dawson in Preston County.

One of the cadets who is set to graduate from the Mountaineer ChalleNGe Academy in June and receive a diploma from Morgantown High School is Matthenon Roulhac from Morgantown.

He says, without the program, he does not know how he would be doing.  He says he had fallen off track at school.  “I looked at where I was heading and was, like, this is not where I need to be,” Roulhac said.

“It’s gotten me more organized,” he says of the ChalleNGe Academy.  “I’ve been able to stay focused and not lose track of what I need to do and where I’m going.”  He is now planning to go to college and study to become an orthodontist.

Austin and Roulhac were at the State Capitol for National Guard Day at the Legislature on Friday.

The next cadet class for the Mountaineer ChalleNGe Academy starts in July.  It’s open to West Virginia residents who are between the ages of 16 and 18 years old.

You can find out more at

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  • Diana L. Kelley

    I want to take this opportunity to let every one know that the Mountaineer Challenge Academy is one of the best programs that is available to young adults who need to get their life back on course that might be heading down the wrong road. My son who is going to graduate in June from the Mountaineer Challenge Academy is a prime example of a young man who was on his way to becoming a high school drop out is now on his way to getting a High School Diploma by completing the Mountaineer Challenge Academy Program. I can not express my feelings enough about how this program has changed my son into a young man who now has respect for his self and for everyone around him. The Mountaineer Challenge has taught my son to be considerate, respectful, to have a good routine in managing his time. The Mountaineer Challenge Staff work very hard and dilligently to bring out the best in each and every one of the Cadets. They also teach them to work together as a team, which is excellent . It's almost like they are all united as one. I try to the best of my ability to let every one know about this program that is there to help bring out the best of the best in our young adults. If you would have to pay out of your pocket to send your child to a school like this for the time they are there, you would probably be spending way over what most people could afford. So take advantage of this program and register now to get your child enrolled for the next Class, you need to act as quickly as possible. I thank the Mountaineer Challenge Staff for giving me back the fine young man that they helped to mold, shape and form. My hat goes off to Mountaineer Challenge Academy . I also want to thank the National Guard and the state of WV for the money that is needed and the money they supply for the operation of this program.