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 www.ngycp.org/site/state/wv/