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Michigan Youth Challenge Academy Class #44 to Graduate on June 19

LANSING, Mich. - The Michigan Youth Challenge Academy (MYCA) will hold a virtual graduation ceremony for the more than 100 cadets of class #44 on June 19, 2021 at 5 p.m. Family, friends and community members are invited to watch the ceremony live on the MYCA Facebook page at

The National Guard Youth Challenge program is a cost-free alternative education program which offers at-risk youth the opportunity to change their future. Of the 106 anticipated graduates in this cycle, 95 are earning their high school diploma while the remaining cadets will earn their General Education Development certificate or continue their academic pursuits towards earning their high school diploma.

"These young men and women pushed themselves through a rigorous 22-week self-development program to better their futures and they should be extremely proud of their accomplishments," said U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Paul D. Rogers, adjutant general and director of the Michigan Department of Military and Veterans Affairs. "Their grit and determination will help prepare them for any challenge that may come their way."

The graduating class consists of cadets from across the state, hailing from 36 different counties. As part of the curriculum, cadets participate in drill and ceremony formations, meet physical fitness standards, attend to academics and participate in community outreach.

"As part of their Youth Challenge experience, these cadets have provided a total of 2,884 hours of service to their community, averaging 27.2 hours per cadet," said Anica Simmons, deputy director of the Michigan Youth Challenge Academy. "Their volunteer efforts provide additional opportunities for career exploration as well as enhancing community-needs awareness and understanding the importance of giving back."

Candidates for the Youth Challenge Academy are 16-18 years old and are at risk of not graduating high school. Because of the voluntary nature of the program, applicants cannot be mandated to attend by parents or the justice system. The next class of cadets will begin on July 18, 2021.

Graduates of the Youth Challenge Academy are eligible for the Job Challenge program if they are physically and mentally capable of participation. The program focuses on career preparation and continues to provide opportunities for academic accreditation.

Both the Michigan Youth Challenge Academy and the Michigan Job Challenge program are free to participants and there is no requirement for military obligation. Interested parties can call 800-372-0523 or visit for more information.