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FORT MCCOY, Wis. – 71 Cadets from 31 counties will graduate from the Wisconsin National Guard Challenge Academy in a ceremony Thursday, June 9th at Stevens Point Area Senior 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 work with hometown mentors who offer guidance and encouragement in pursuing their new direction in life.  Warrant Officer 1 Vanessa Pederson will be the guest speaker. 

The National Guard Youth Challenge Program currently operates 41 programs in 30 states, Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia.  Nationwide, more than 190,000 teens have graduated.

The Wisconsin Challenge Academy will begin its next class July 21st, 2022.  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 Academy for interviews with graduates.  The graduation ceremony begins at 11:00 AM at the Stevens Point Area Senior High School gym, 1201 Northpoint Dr, Stevens Point, WI.  The Challenge Academy drill team will perform at 10:15 a.m.

Graduates come from 31 Wisconsin counties: Barron (Rice Lake, 1), Bayfield (Cornucopia, 1), Brown (Green Bay, 3), Chippewa (Bloomer, 1; Cadott, 1), Columbia (Portage, 1; Poynette, 1; Randolph, 1), Dane (Madison, 2; Stoughton, 1), Dodge (Reeseville, 2), Door (Sturgeon Bay, 1), Eau Claire (Eleva, 1; Fairchild, 1), Fond Du Lac (Waupun, 1), Grant (Boscobel, 1), Jackson (Alma Center, 1), Jefferson (Lake Mills, 1; Watertown, 1), Kenosha (Bristol, 1), La Crosse (La Crosse, 1), Lincoln (Merrill, 2), Manitowoc (Two Rivers, 1), Marinette (Crivitz, 1), Marquette (Westfield, 1), Menominee (Keshena, 1), Milwaukee (Milwaukee, 7; Oak Creek, 1; West Allis, 1), Monroe (Cashton, 1; Norwalk, 2; Tomah, 1), Oneida (Eagle River, 1), Portage (Plover, 2; Stevens Point, 2), Racine (Racine, 1), Rock (Beloit, 11; Clinton, 1; Edgerton, 1), Sauk (Reedsburg, 1), Vilas (Arbor Vita, 1), Walworth (Genoa City, 1; Whitewater, 1), Washington (Germantown, 1; West Bend, 2), Winnebago (Neenah, 1).