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Hundreds of Mississippians get a second chance to walk across stage

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HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) -

Hundreds of individuals who never graduated from high school had a second chance to walk across the stage on Saturday.

The Mississippi National Guard Youth Challenge Academy had their graduation exercise of Class 38 at the Forrest County Multi Purpose Center in Hattiesburg.

Exactly 218 cadets graduated after completing a 22-week military-based training and education program.

Along with guest speaker Congressman Steven Palazzo, the commencement also included keynote speaker, the Adjutant General of the State of Mississippi Major General Augustus L. Collins.

“It's something not only for the graduates to be proud of, it's something for their families to be proud of too,” said Collins. “It's a volunteer program, so they've come looking for a way to better themselves and they've completed this program, so they're family and friends are also proud of their accomplishment.”

The academy not only focuses on improving the life-coping skills and employment potential of high school dropouts, but also helps them become productive members of their communities and society in general.

For more information on the Mississippi Challenge Academy, click HERE.

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