CAMP SHELBY, Miss. (WDAM) - Nearly 200 high school students or former high school drop-outs from across Mississippi graduated Saturday morning from the latest class of the Mississippi National Guard’s Youth Challenge Academy.
197 cadets from Class 52 received their diplomas at the Mississippi Armed Forces Museum.
Because of the coronavirus pandemic, those diplomas were presented outdoors in a drive-thru ceremony that was open to family members.
Earlier, students receiving college scholarships or those who’ve enlisted in the military were recognized in a closed, indoor ceremony.
“(Youth Challenge has) meant a lot, it’s helped me become a better person, it’s even helped me get plenty of job interviews, because we completed the whole six months,” said Eariana Robinson, a graduate from Starkville.
“It was hard at first, I really wanted to go home, but (the YCP staff) they pushed me to stay, I passed by GED first try and now, I’m focused on enlisting in the military,” said Jonathan Warren, another graduate from Madison.
Cadets were restricted to Camp Shelby for most of the 19-week course.
Administrators said none of the them became sick from the coronavirus.