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FORT MCCOY, Wis. — 105 Cadets from 38 counties will graduate from the Wisconsin National Guard Challenge Academy in a noon ceremony Saturday, Dec. 14 at Mauston High School.

The Challenge Academy re-shapes the lives of at-risk 16-to-18-year-olds. It uses a structured, military-style environment and state-certified teachers and counselors to build cadets’ academic abilities, character, self-confidence, and personal discipline.

After graduating from the 22-week residential phase of academy training, cadets are paired with hometown mentors who offer guidance and encouragement in pursuing their new direction in life.

Brig. Gen. Gary Eben, Wisconsin’s deputy adjutant general for Air, is scheduled to address graduates along with their parents, relatives, mentors, and friends on hand to celebrate their success.

The National Guard Youth Challenge Program currently operates 41 programs in 30 states, Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia. Nationwide, more than 145,000 teens have graduated.

The Wisconsin Challenge Academy will begin its next class Jan. 16, 2020. Applications are available for future classes by contacting the Challenge Academy at (866) 968-8422 or visiting their website at

News media representatives are welcome to attend or contact the Challenge Academy for interviews with graduates. The graduation ceremony begins at noon at the Mauston High School gym, 800 Grayside Avenue. The Challenge Academy drill team will perform at 11:15 a.m.

Graduates come from 38 Wisconsin counties: Adams (Friendship, 1), Brown (Brillion, 1; Green Bay, 13; Oneida, 1), Calumet (New Holstein, 1), Chippewa (Bloomer, 1), Columbia (Rio, 1), Crawford (Wauzeka, 1), Dane (Belleville, 1; Madison, 1; Marshall, 1; Oregon, 2; Poynette, 1; Stoughton, 1), Dodge (Beaver Dam, 1), Douglas (Solon Springs, 1); Eau Claire (Augusta, 1; Eau Claire, 1), Fond du Lac (Eden, 1), Forest (Crandon, 1), Iowa (Hollandale, 1), Iron (Brodhead, 1), Jackson (Hixton, 1), Jefferson (Fort Atkinson, 1), Juneau (Camp Douglas, 1; Mauston, 2), La Crosse (Onalaska, 1), Lincoln (Merrill, 1), Manitowoc (Manitowoc, 1; Two Rivers, 1), Marinette (Coleman, 1; Wausaukee, 1), Marquette (Neshkoro, 1; Westfield, 1), Menominee (Keshena, 1), Milwaukee (Brown Deer, 1; Greenfield, 1; Milwaukee, 7; South Milwaukee, 1), Monroe (Tomah, 1; Sparta, 1), Outagamie (Appleton, 1), Portage (Plover, 2; Stevens Point, 1), Price (Park Falls, 1), Racine (Burlington, 1; Racine, 1; Waterford, 1), Rock (Beloit, 6; Janesville, 6; Milton, 1), Sauk (Baraboo, 2; Prairie du Sac, 1; Reedsburg, 2), Shawano (Shawano, 1), Sheboygan (Cascade, 1; Plymouth, 2; Sheboygan, 1), Vernon (Genoa, 1), Waukesha (Hartland, 2; Menomonee Falls, 2; Pewaukee, 1), Waupaca (Fremont, 1; New London, 1), Waushara (Berlin, 1), Wood (Biron, 1).