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Several graduate from Youth Challenge
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CLAY NATIONAL GUARD CENTER — Several Liberty County teens were among a class of more than 200 to graduate and earn their GEDs from the Fort Stewart Youth Challenge Academy program June 19. Commencement ceremonies were held at the Macon Municipal Auditorium. Former U.S. Rep. Mack Collins was the commencement speaker.
 The graduates from Liberty County are: Brandon Bennett, Millisa Green, Rhasheem Bowens and Thomas Roberts, all of Midway; and Anthony Reddick, Cody Pezzino, Desi Jenkins, Devin Mincey, Dorian Dunlap, Gerald Green, Jean Hyacinthe, Oteasa Canady, Robert Jubito, Shanora Armstrong and Shawn Maez, all of Hinesville.  
Georgia’s Youth Challenge Academy, operated by the Georgia National Guard, is a 22-week, in-residence program that caters to teens ages 16-18 who have dropped out of school. Participants receive comprehensive, academic instruction in small classes. They complete graduation requirements and receive their GEDs.  YCA is a structured, military-styled program that stresses academics, discipline, personal responsibility and physical fitness.
Georgia has two Youth Challenge campuses, the original campus on Fort Stewart, which was created in 1993, and a second campus at Fort Gordon, near Augusta. The Fort Gordon campus graduated its first class in 2000.
Since YCA’s creation, more than 8,000 formerly at-risk teens have graduated from the program. Once cadets complete the requirements, they are paired with personal mentors in their hometowns. The mentors oversee the graduates’ continued progress. Some YCA graduates enroll in college, others enlist in the military and many return to their hometowns and find jobs.
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