West Virginia Mountaineer ChalleNGe Academy Class 51 graduates 173 cadets

By Air Force Capt. Holli Nelson, West Virginia Air National Guard | West Virginia National Guard | Dec. 14, 2018

RELATED MEDIA
KINGWOOD, W.Va. —

The West Virginia National Guard’s Mountaineer ChalleNGe Academy graduated 173 cadets as a part of Class 51 today, the largest graduating class in MCA history.

Class 51 had 158 cadets, or 91 percent, graduating the program with a high school diploma, the highest percentage in Academy history. Of those graduating, 46 percent (80 cadets) plan to join the workforce, 20 percent (35 cadets) plan to join the military, 17 percent (16 cadets) plan to attend a vocational/technical program and 16 percent (28 cadets) plan to go onto a four-year college program.

"Today is an exceptionally important day for these young people who have achieved something truly remarkable in graduating from the Mountaineer ChalleNGe Academy," said Maj. Gen. James A. Hoyer, the Adjutant General of the West Virginia National Guard. "Not only have these cadets shown courage and commitment in their lives, they’ve also set a standard for achievement in graduating as the largest class with the highest percentage of high school diploma recipients. I cannot overstate how proud we are of their accomplishments and look forward to their future contributions to the great State of West Virginia."

Class 51 represented 33 different counties throughout the Mountain State, with Kanawha County having the highest enrollment for the course with 35 cadets.

Throughout the 22-week program, cadets provided more than 8,614 hours of community service through 118 different projects, a recognized value of more than $212,690.

The mission of the Mountaineer ChalleNGe Academy is to train and mentor selected at-risk youth to become contributing members of society using the Eight Core Components in a quasi-military environment during a 22-week residential and one year post-residential follow-up program. It is a free volunteer program for West Virginia youth ages 16 to 18 years old who are educationally at-risk.

Since its inception in 1993, the Mountaineer ChalleNGe Academy has graduated 4,360 cadets from the program.

Award winners from the program are as follows:

ROBERT C. BYRD DISTINGUISHED CADET AWARD

Cadet Jacob Moore

Mineral Wells, Wood County

Son of Jason and Heather Moore of Mineral Wells and Catherine Knopp of Parkersburg

 

ADJUTANT GENERAL’S AWARD FOR ACADEMIC EXCELLENCE

Cadet Duncan Weaber

Clarksburg, Harrison County

Son of Lucas Weaber of Clarksburg

 

LEADERSHIP AWARD

Cadet Jordan Glessner

Wheeling, Ohio County

Grandson of Trudi Glessner of Wheeling and son of Jessica Glessner of Wheeling

 

CITIZENSHIP AWARD

Cadet Jacob Wilmer

Lewisburg, Greenbrier County

Son of Sensca and Tina Wilmer of Lewisburg

 

ACADEMIC CHALLENGE AWARD

Cadet Braden Kesecker

Martinsburg, Berkeley County

Son Taleesha Kesecker and Brad Kesecker of Martinsburg

 

MOST IMPROVED CADET AWARD

Cadet Jordan Terrell

Martinsburg, Berkeley County

Son of Gwendolyn Cole of Martinsburg

 

"ESPRIT DE CORPS" AWARD

Cadet Jacob Moore

Mineral Wells, Wood County

Son of Jason and Heather Moore of Mineral Wells and Catherine Knopp of Parkersburg

 

"IRON MIKE" AWARD FOR PHYSICAL FITNESS

Cadet Jacob Moore

Mineral Wells, Wood County

Son of Jason and Heather Moore of Mineral Wells and Catherine Knopp of Parkersburg