196 to graduate Saturday from Class 57 of National Guard’s Youth Challenge
HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WDAM) - Nearly two hundred cadets are scheduled to graduate Saturday from the latest class of the Mississippi National Guard Youth Challenge Academy.
A graduation ceremony for Class 57 is set for 10:30 a.m. at the Forrest County Multi-Purpose Facility.
Youth Challenge is a 22-week, military-style course for at-risk youth or other students.
“It changed me in different ways,” said Adonis Phillips, a 16-year-old cadet from Meridian.
“I came here with an attitude and an anger problem and everybody saw that and everybody started talking to me and I changed.”
Cadets can get their GEDs or learn job skills.
“I’m feeling a lot more confident about myself. I got my GED, my high school diploma, so that’s what I came here to get, because I wasn’t in school before I came here,” said Brooklyn Hall, a 17-year-old cadet from Mendenhall.
Organizers said 196 cadets are expected to participate in the ceremony.
“It’s made me realize a bunch of things about myself,” said Dailya Ward, a cadet from Gulfport.
“I’m smarter than I thought I was. It gave me a lot of good opportunities. It sent me to college, so I’ve finished one semester of college. I got college hours.”
Ward will graduate as salutatorian for Class 57.
More than 10,000 cadets have graduated from the Youth Challenge Academy since 1994.
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