National Guard program helps at-risk high school dropouts
By Staff reports
Published: Tuesday, March 25, 2014 at 11:22 AM.
A North Carolina program is working to inspire and challenge young adults. The Tarheel ChalleNGe Academy is a quasi-military style program for at-risk high school dropouts and is sponsored by the North Carolina National Guard. Retired Colonel Edward W. Timmons Sr. became the director of the Academy in November.
The mission of the academy is to redirect the efforts of young adults who have had trouble succeeding in the normal high school environment, and give them the skills and attitude to become productive citizens in their communities.
The academy, in Salemburg, is a 17-month program divided into two phases: a
5-month in-residence phase at the academy, and a 12-month post-residential phase immediately following graduation from the in-residence phase. Prospective cadets must volunteer for the training. The program is sponsored by the North Carolina National Guard, but there are no military obligations for attending.
There is no cost to the cadet, parents or family for attending this program other than the cadet’s personal items. During the in-residence phase, cadets are supervised by cadre members 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. They wear uniforms, do physical training, attend classes and learn to work within a structured and disciplined environment.
A major part of the academy curriculum provides for General Educational Development schooling and testing, and possible adult education training. During the post-residential phase, graduates are assigned a trained, volunteer mentor who assists the graduate in seeking employment and/or enrolling in college or training.
In its 18 years of operation, Tarheel ChalleNGe has seen 3,806 young men and women graduate from the program. Of these, 2,653 obtained their HSE while in the residential phase. Approximately
90 percent of graduates remain gainfully placed (i.e., in school, working or in the military)
12 months after graduation.
Cadets must be:
* At least 16 years old but younger than 19 years old at time of entry.
* High school dropouts or expellees without a HSE Diploma.
* U.S. citizens and North Carolina residents.
* Free from illegal drugs/substances and any serious involvement with the criminal justice system.
* Physically and mentally capable of completing the program.
* Unemployed or underemployed.
* Successfully pass a medical screening exam.
For more information about Tarheel ChalleNGe Academy, call 910-525-5520
or visit www.nc-tcachallenge.org