National Guard hosts graduation for Class 42 of Youth Challenge

National Guard hosts graduation for Class 42 of Youth Challenge

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - Dozens of high school dropouts from across Mississippi Saturday completed a National Guard program which has given them a new start in life.

One hundred and sixty eight former at-risk students received diplomas during graduation exercises for Class 42 of the Youth Challenge Academy.

The event was held at the Forrest County Multi-Purpose Center.

Youth Challenge is a 22-week, military-style program which teaches discipline and physical fitness and gives cadets a chance to get their GED.

"It means a lot, like a fresh slate," said Jawaun Davis, a graduate from Jackson. "I started all over again, I have a second chance at life,"

"It is absolutely great and it changes you, if you let it," said Jasmyne Lawson, another graduate from Tylertown,

Mississippi's Youth Challenge program began in 1994 at Camp Shelby.