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Michigan Youth Challenge Academy Class #45 to Graduate on December 18

LANSING, Mich. - The Michigan Youth Challenge Academy (MYCA) will hold a graduation ceremony for 107 cadets of class #45 on December 18, 2021.

The voluntary academy is a cost-free alternative education program which offers at-risk youth the opportunity to change their future. Of the 107 anticipated graduates in this cycle, 91 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.

"This program is all about giving young men and women a second chance by instilling moral, physical and mental toughness," said U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Paul D. Rogers, adjutant general and director of the Michigan Department of Military and Veterans Affairs. "The accomplishments of these cadets over the past 22 weeks prove they have the fortitude to take their lives in a new direction."

As part of the curriculum, cadets participate in drill and ceremony formations, meet physical fitness standards, receive classroom instruction and participate in community service. The graduating class consists of cadets from across the state, hailing from 41 different counties: Alcona, Allegan, Baraga, Bay, Berrien, Branch, Calhoun, Cass, Chippewa, Clinton, Eaton, Genesee, Grand Traverse, Gratiot, Hillsdale, Ingham, Ionia, Isabella, Jackson, Kalamazoo, Kent, Lapeer, Lenawee, Livingston, Macomb, Midland, Monroe, Montcalm, Muskegon, Oakland, Oceana, Oscoda, Ottawa, Roscommon, Saginaw, Shiawassee, St. Clair, St. Joseph, Van Buren, Washtenaw and Wayne.

"In addition to more than 800 classroom hours provided by Marshall Public Schools, the cadets have also received 160 hours of vocational training as part of their academy experience," said Michael Gillum, director of the MYCA. "Each cadet will leave the academy with additional resources and mentorship opportunities to help them succeed as well-rounded members of our communities."

Candidates for the 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 program is free to participants and there is no requirement for military obligation.

Class #46 will begin on January 16, 2022. To begin the application process, interested youth and parents are invited to attend an upcoming virtual orientation. These orientation sessions are a mandatory part of the application process. To schedule an orientation, please contact: Joan Miller at 269-968-1368 (Western Michigan and Upper Peninsula) or Frank Vasquez at 269-968-1397 (Eastern Michigan and Upper Peninsula).

Graduates of the MYCA are eligible for the Michigan 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. Visit for more information.