Date: June 25, 2010
Six months ago, 11 young adults were at risk of making choices that would jeopardize their futures. Now those same Challenge Academy cadets received scholarships, awards or honors during a graduation ceremony June 12 at DeForest Area High School.
Jacob Kratz of Pardeeville received a $500 Air Force scholarship. He plans to pursue a law enforcement degree at Madison Area Technical College.
Clara Stagman of Wauzeka received the "Never Give Up" award. This award recognizes the cadet who demonstrates the perseverance and determination to "never give up" during the 22-week residential phase of the academy.
Vargas Maldonado of Milwaukee received the "Most Improved Graduate" award. This award recognizes the cadet who, through unwavering determination, shows the most improvement in overcoming life's natural difficulties.
Daniel Beaudry of Stevens Point was named Military Honor Graduate. This award recognizes a cadet's understanding and application of personal discipline, leadership excellence, ability to be a loyal follower, and excellence in all eight core components of the Challenge Academy curriculum.
Nicholas Hanson of Middleton received the Academic Honor award. This award recognizes a high grade point average, excellence in homework assignments, perseverance in the classroom, consistent classroom participation, and excellence in all eight core components of the Challenge Academy curriculum.
Jerome Drake of Wauwatosa received the "Character Development Honor" award. This award recognizes the cadet who understands that it is not enough to merely know what is morally and ethically correct - strength of character is also required to act on what is right. Character is what enables successful, responsible lives.
The following cadets were named Platoon Honor Graduates: Dirk Holder of Tomah, Company A, 1st Platoon; Paul Dorn of Poynette, Company A, 2nd Platoon; Jacob Kratz of Pardeeville, Company B, 1st Platoon; Neria Chavez of Racine, Company B, 2nd Platoon. These cadets were recognized as the best overall in their platoons by demonstrating excellence in all areas of the Challenge Academy's eight core components.
Evan Precord of Hartford was named the Distinguished Honor Graduate, the highest recognition bestowed by the Challenge Academy. To receive this award, cadets must excel in each of the Challenge Academy's eight core components, consistently offer assistance to other cadets, maintain excellent academic standing throughout the program, and display superior application of honor, integrity, courage, commitment and discipline.
One hundred and six Challenge Academy cadets from 42 counties graduated June 12. The Challenge Academy reshapes the lives of at-risk 16-to-18-year-olds by using a structured, military-style environment and state-certified teachers and counselors to build cadets' academic abilities, character, self-confidence, and personal discipline.
After graduating, cadets are paired with hometown mentors who offer guidance and encouragement in pursuing their new direction in life.
The Wisconsin Challenge Academy will begin its next class July 22. Applications are available for future classes by contacting the Challenge Academy at (608) 269-4605 or visiting their website at www.challengeacademy.org.