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Michigan Youth Challenge Academy Class #47 to Graduate on Dec. 17

LANSING, Mich. — The Michigan Youth Challenge Academy (MYCA) will hold a graduation ceremony for 106 cadets of class #47 at 10 a.m. on Dec. 17, 2022, at the W.K. Kellogg Auditorium at 50 Van Buren St. W, Battle Creek, MI 49017. Doors will open at 9 a.m. and the ceremony is open to the public.

The graduating class consists of cadets from across the state, hailing from 39 different counties: Allegan, Arenac, Barry, Benzie, Berrien, Branch, Calhoun, Charlevoix, Chippewa, Clinton, Crawford, Eaton, Genesee, Gratiot, Hillsdale, Ingham, Ionia, Jackson, Kalamazoo, Kent, Lake, Lapeer, Livingston, Luce, Macomb, Midland, Monroe, Muskegon, Oakland, Oscoda, Ottawa, Roscommon, Saginaw, Shiawassee, St. Clair, St. Joseph, Van Buren, Wayne and Wexford.

The voluntary academy is a cost-free alternative education program which offers at-risk youth the opportunity to change their future. As part of the curriculum, cadets participate in drill and ceremony formations, meet physical fitness standards, perform community service and receive classroom instruction. 

“Over the past 22 weeks, these cadets have shown great progress in furthering their education and preparing for success outside the academy,” said U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Paul D. Rogers, adjutant general and director of the Michigan Department of Military and Veterans Affairs. “As a class they accomplished a significant achievement, performing more than 5,462 hours of community service to help individuals and organizations in the Battle Creek area.”

Of the 106 anticipated graduates in this cycle, 76 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.

“We partner with Marshall Public Schools to provide access to an enriched curriculum which, when paired with vocational training, provides our cadets with a well-rounded academy experience,” said Michael Gillum, director of the MYCA. “We’re excited for our graduating cadets to take the lessons and life skills they learned here at the academy and return to their Michigan communities in pursuit of a happy and healthy life.”

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 #48 will begin on Jan. 15, 2023. 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 https://www.michigan.gov/myca for more information.