Gratitude resonated in Mauston High School’s auditorium as 108 cadets graduated from the Wisconsin National Guard Challenge Academy in a graduation ceremony on December 16th. The cadets completed the 22-week residential phase of the Challenge Academy program where they lived full-time at Fort McCoy, Wisconsin. They now enter the post-residential phase of the program where a community mentor helps guide them back into everyday life with the lessons and skills they learned at the academy.
The mission of the National Guard Youth Challenge Program is to intervene in and reclaim the lives of 16-to-18 year-old ‘at-risk’ youths, producing program graduates with the values, life skills, education, and self-discipline necessary to succeed as productive citizens. Wisconsin offers the cadets the opportunity to develop the strength of character and life skills necessary to become successful, responsible citizens.
John McHugh, the director of communications for Kwik Trip, spoke to the graduates and expressed gratitude to the cadets for proving that our pasts do not have to define us.