N.C. Guard Tarheel Challenge Academy Honored With Governor's Award for Excellence
RALEIGH – Governor Bev Perdue presented the Governor's Award for Excellence to the North Carolina National Guard's Tarheel Challenge Academy in a ceremony Nov. 29.
The award recognizes the academy's outstanding contributions to community and public service projects.
“This is the highest honor for a state employee or team,” said Perdue. “Thank you for a job well done.”
The N.C. National Guard runs the Tarheel Challenge Academy, a military-style boarding school for at-risk teens of high school age. The program instills leadership, improved self-esteem and personal responsibility. After graduation from the program, mentors guide the cadets during a 12-month period.
In the past 16 years, more than 3,200 students have graduated from the academy. During that time, the students contributed more than 300,000 hours of public service to the community.
Perdue said the staff are “dedicated to making a difference and bringing a future to our young people. They represent our very best as a state and people.”
“I could not be more proud of Tarheel Challenge,” said Reuben F. Young, secretary of the N.C. Department of Crime Control and Public Safety. “No program has a greater impact.”
Dale Autry, director of the academy, accepted the award for the entire staff of the school.
“It is a team award and effort,” said Autry. “You never know who will send a young man or woman in the right direction.”
The following is the description of Tarheel ChalleNGe that was read at the ceremony:
“The mission of the N.C. National Guard's Tarheel ChalleNGe Academy is to improve the life skills and employment potential of students who have dropped out or been expelled from high school. The 22-week residential and 12-month post-residential programs are offered throughout all 100 North Carolina counties.
Since its inception 16 years ago, more than 3,200 young men and women have graduated from the program. Of the graduates, 2,279 obtained their GED. And approximately 90 percent remain gainfully placed in school, work or the military 12 months after graduation.
The program's success can be attributed to the curriculum which includes eight core components that address the whole person. The core components are: academic excellence, leadership and fellowship, coping skills, job skills, physical fitness, responsible citizenship, health and hygiene, and service to the community. The cadets have donated more than 16,470 hours of service to the Special Olympics, a favorite project of the academy, in the last nine years. They have also donated more than 290,000 hours of service to other organizations including the American Red Cross, Sampson County Shriners, Boy Scouts of America and Jones Lake State Park. Academy administrators, teachers and counselors forge strong mentoring relationships with the cadets during the 22-week residential phase.
Cadets identify potential non-family mentors from their church, school or neighborhood. ChalleNGe staff carefully screen and train mentors before they undertake the commitment. Through a formal mentoring program, volunteer mentors and ChalleNGe staff support cadets for 12 months, bridging the gap between the cadet's residency and post-residential life plan.
Kudos to the North Carolina National Guard and the Tarheel ChalleNGe Academy for their commitment to the youth of North Carolina
You-tube video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wkbtEycawkQ
If you can't open it then copy and paste it to the Web browser.