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Mountaineer ChalleNGe Academy celebrates newest class

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Sixty-four cadets of the West Virginia National Guard’s Mountaineer ChalleNGe Academy graduated from the program on Friday.

The agency describes the program as an initiative providing at-risk youth with opportunities to earn a high school diploma and receive career training in a military-style environment.

The cadets graduated from the program’s north campus in Kingwood.

“It is truly an honor and privilege to be able to share in the celebration today with these young cadets and their families as they graduate from MCA-North,” said Chief Master Sgt. Brandon Ives, the West Virginia Air National Guard state command chief.

“I have seen the tremendous impact that the National Guard Youth ChalleNGe Program has had across the United States and it’s even more special to be present to congratulate each cadet personally for their achievement. This program changes lives and each person here today should be proud of all they have achieved.”

Fifty-one cadets graduated from the program with a high school diploma. More than half of the cadets plan to join the workforce, four people plan to join the military, 14 cadets plan to further their education through a vocational or technical program, and two cadets plan to enroll in a four-year college.

The cadets came from 23 different counties.

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