CAMP SHELBY, Miss. (WDAM) - Saturday was Graduation Day for Camp Shelby cadets, who went through a 22-week program where they got their high school equivalency diplomas.
It’s a lesson in structure.
“Well, I feel its the next step in my life. It is opening the door to what I am going to be in the future. Its a very important day to me, and I’m very happy,” said Ethan Razor, a graduating cadet.
Ethan Razor is celebrating going through the Mississippi Academy Challenge. He’s finishing as valedictorian. Making this accomplishment is something he did not think he could do.
“I never thought I would be valedictorian of anything after I dropped out of high school," said Razor. “Now that I am standing here it just feels unreal. It is very structured and it helps with discipline. Instilling discipline is the main thing they do. I feel like it will help me stay on track stay on schedule.”
His grandfather is super proud. Words can't express how happy he is that Ethan is back on track.
“Well, I always knew that he was smart. He’s always just been smart," said Richard Prewitt, Ethan’s Grandfather. "When he was going down the wrong road it just broke my heart. I knew he was smart. For him to be the valedictorian, it doesn’t surprise me. But I still am very proud of him.”
Director of the Mississippi Challenge Academy William H. King IV had some parting words for Ethan.
"Wherever cadet razor goes and whoever he runs into, I hope he sends more back like him,” said King.
Ethan says he plans to enlist in the military.
The Youth Challenge Academy is part of the National Guard Youth Challenge Program. Young men and women between the ages of 16-18 are able to attend the 22-week intensive program. The cadets live at Camp Shelby during that time, completing military-based training and education that focuses on the development of the whole person. Cadets learn leadership, service to the community, job skills, life coping skills, education excellence, responsible citizenship, health and sex education, and physical fitness.
The Mississippi National Guard Youth Challenge Academy has currently a 97.6 percent success rate of our graduates either entering college, the work force or the military.
The Academy graduates two classes each year in January and July, with 266 students being selected for each class. The next enrolling class is Class #52, which begins Jan. 18, 2020. For more information, visit the website or call 800-507-6253.