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Home : News
NEWS | June 3, 2021

West Virginia Mountaineer ChalleNGe Academy Class 56 graduates 73 cadets

By Edwin Wriston West Virginia National Guard Public Affairs

The West Virginia National Guard’s Mountaineer ChalleNGe Academy graduated 73 cadets as a part of Class 56 today.


“One of the absolute best things I get to do as The Adjutant General is to be with our MCA cadets and families on their graduation to celebrate their accomplishments,” said Brig. Gen. William “Bill” Crane, the Adjutant General of the West Virginia National Guard. “I could not be more proud of all they have achieved, which includes having the second highest rate of cadets earning their High School diploma in the program’s history. It is a testament to the hard work and dedication of these young men and women, as well as the faculty and staff who assist them in their transformation while at MCA. This program absolutely changes lives in the Mountain State and I look forward to all the great things our graduating cadets will achieve in the future.”


Class 56 has 68 cadets, or 93 percent, graduating the program with a high school diploma. Of those graduating, 58 percent (42 cadets) plan to join the workforce, 12 percent (9 cadets) plan to join the military, 10 percent (7 cadets) plan to attend a vocational/technical program and five percent (4 cadets) plan to go onto a four-year college program. Fifteen percent of the class (11 cadets) plan to participate in the Mountaineer Job ChalleNGe Program after graduation.


Class 56 represents 23 different counties throughout the Mountain State, with Kanawha County having the highest enrollment for the course with 14 cadets.


Throughout the 22-week program, cadets provided more than 2,309 hours of community service through five different projects, a recognized value of more than $65,898.00.


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 4,906 cadets from the program with 1,873 receiving their high school diploma.


Award winners from the program are as follows:





This award recognizes the Top Over-All Cadet for the entire 22-week residential phase of the ChalleNGe Program.  This Cadet will have demonstrated leadership, academic improvement, and effort in physical training on the Progress Reports.




Cadet Louie Gauze

Maidsville, Monongalia County

Son of Jackie Tidwell



Cadet Justin Suszek

Parkersburg, Wood County

Son of Kristen Suszek and Justin Suszek



Cadet Justin Suszek

Parkersburg, Wood County

Son of Kristen Suszek and Justin Suszek



Cadet Brandon Grubb

Winfield, Putnam County

Son of Bo Grubb and Tina Smith



Cadet Zander Hall

Camp Creek, Mercer County

Son of John and Heather Hall



Cadet Robert Fowlkes

Charleston, Kanawha County

Son of Misti Ashworth



Cadet Mark McCoy

Big Creek, Logan County

Son of Mark and Jessica McCoy



Cadet Terrence Booker

Fairmont, Marion County

Son of Jessica Plever


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Video by Sgt. Cheryl Madolev, Staff Sgt. Mickey Miller, Sgt. Davis Rohrer
WVNG Best Warrior Competition 2024 Video
153rd Public Affairs Detachment
March 19, 2024 | 4:11
Soldiers and Airmen from the West Virginia and District of Columbia National Guard compete in the West Virginia National Guard Best Warrior Competition held April 19-21, 2024, at Camp Dawson in Kingwood, West Virginia. Best Warrior is an annual event where participants compete in a series of warrior training tasks including weapons proficiency on the M4 rifle, 9mm pistol, land navigation, physical fitness, combat first aid, tactical movements, communications, and professional development activities. Photos by 153rd Public Affairs Det., WVARNG