Date: June 9, 2010
One hundred and six cadets from 42 counties will graduate from the Wisconsin National Guard Challenge Academy in a noon ceremony Saturday, June 12, at DeForest Area High School.
The Challenge Academy reshapes 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. U.S. Rep. Tammy Baldwin (2nd District) is scheduled to address graduates along with their parents, relatives, mentors and friends on hand to celebrate their success. Five cadets who graduated from Challenge Academy in 2009 will receive scholarships to the colleges of their choice:
• Nicholas Feldman of Lyndon Station will receive a $1,000 scholarship from Merrill Lynch and Co., Inc. Feldman is enrolled in the mechanics program at Madison Area Technical College.
• Wal-Mart will award an $1,800 scholarship to Sharnika Polzar of Green Bay. Polzar is currently attending Northwest Technical College pursuing a degree in criminal justice.
• David Sorenson of Beloit will receive a $1,000 Docu-Pak scholarship. Sorenson is enrolled at Blackhawk Technical College pursuing a computer technician degree.
• EADS North America will award a $1,000 scholarship to Alexa Jolin of Tomah. Jolin is currently attending the International Air and Hospitality Academy in Vancouver, Wash.
• Cory Schladweiler of New Richmond will receive a $1,200 Fund a Future Scholarship given in the name of Col (Ret.) Christopher Mears. Schladweiler is currently enrolled at Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College.
Twenty-nine states offer similar programs nationwide. More than 80,000 teens have successfully completed the National Guard youth programs since 1993. More than 87 per cent of cadets who finish the program receive their high school equivalency diploma (HSED), and more than 80 percent stay out of trouble with the law.
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.