MOUNTAINEER CHALLENGE ACADEMY: Free Military School Better Option Than Dropping Out

Special to HuntingtonNews.Net
 The West Virginia National Guard provides a free military school for WV boys and girls 16-18 years old -- providing  a unique option to dropping out of high school and giving up on their education. The Mountaineer Challenge Academy is the Guard’s program that is open to all WV boys and girls that meet the age and other standard requirements. Located at Camp Dawson in Preston County, the Academy is an approved alternative program of the State Board of Education. 
 

Therefore, when a student leaves their high school to enter the Academy, they are designated as a transfer and are kept on their home high school roster. This way, the high school does not lose funding for that student.

 
The Mountaineer Challenge Academy holds two classes per year that last 22 weeks. One class begins in January and the other in July. During the 22 weeks, the “cadet” lives on site and is schooled in GED preparation and life skills. At The Academy, a 16 year old can obtain the GED and certifications in 1st aid, CPR, OSHA Basic Safety and OSHA Level-One Oil and Gas Field Safety. There is no obligation to join the military after completing the program. The cadets do the same as if graduating from high school. They go to college, to a trade school, go into the workforce, to the military, or whatever path they choose.


The success obtained by the cadet is due to a structured and orderly atmosphere that is normally not found in regular school. Any distractions that may be causing them to fail in the home environment are removed so they can fully concentrate on their education and life skills. The cadets on average gain 2.5 grade levels in academic ability while attending. The cadet receives much attention in the classroom and is provided tutoring when needed. Along with the State- certified instructors and guidance counselors, the cadet is also assigned a special staff “Assistant” to guide them on their “Success Plan” as they prepare for graduation. The Assistant also coordinates a mentoring program for one year after graduation to give extra support and ensure continued success when the cadet returns home.


The Mountaineer Challenge Academy is accepting applications now for the next class which begins in January. To learn more about this highly successful program, please call Russ Sterling toll-free 800-529-7700. You may visit the website www.wvchallenge.org . The Academy is also on Facebook.
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