Four Fayette County teens graduate from YCA

Wed, 07/12/2006 - 9:26am
By: The Citizen

Four Fayette County teens are among more than 230 youth who graduated from the Georgia National Guard’s Youth Challenge Academy at commencement ceremonies held in Macon on Saturday, June 17.

Ernst Jones, Philip King, Lee Sellers and Kirsten Walker are members of the 2006 graduating class of the Fort Stewart-based YCA program.

Governor Sonny Perdue was the commencement speaker at the Macon graduation ceremony that was attended by more than 600 family and friends of the graduating class.

“The Youth Challenge Academy gives many of our at-risk youths a second chance to be successful in life,” said Governor Sonny Perdue. “I want to congratulate all of these young people for successfully completing the program and encourage continued support from their family and friends.”

Georgia’s Youth Challenge is a 22 week residential youth program for teens aged 16-18 who have dropped out of school. The military-styled program provides teens with the opportunity to complete basic academic courses leading to a high school diploma or GED. The voluntary program provides teens valuable life skills training emphasizing academics, physical fitness and personal discipline.

YCA graduates often continue their education by attending colleges or technical schools, while others elect to enter military service. Graduates who return to their hometowns after graduation are paired with volunteer YCA mentors in the community.

The Georgia National Guard operates two Youth Challenge Academy campuses in Georgia, the original campus at Fort Stewart near Savannah and a second campus at Fort Gordon near Augusta that opened in 2000. To date more than 6,000 formerly “at risk” teens have graduated from the Youth Challenge Academy program at the two Georgia campuses.

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