The Alaska Military Youth Academy graduated 79 cadets of Class 2021-1 from its National Guard Youth ChalleNGe program during an outdoor ceremony at the Bartlett High School Football Field, Friday, June 18.
Since 1994, AMYA has graduated over 6,178 cadets after successful completion of the program. David McPhetres, director of AMYA, said that Class 2021-1 stands out among the others with over 4,100 hours of community service despite being a smaller class of 79. McPhetres said he fully believes in the difference the program makes in the lives of the cadets.
“It’s a great way for us to reach at-risk youth and teach them skills they will need as adults,” said McPhetres. “The class behind me has learned those skills and more.”
State of Alaska’s Lt. Gov. Kevin Meyer attended the graduation and delivered the keynote speech.
“You now possess the tools, values and confidence for meaningful and successful future,” said Meyer. “Not just for yourselves, but for your family, your friends, your parents, your community and your state and country.”
During their 22-week residential phase at the AMYA ChalleNGe program, the corps of cadets focused on academic excellence, leadership and followership, physical fitness, life coping skills, responsible citizenship, vocational training and service to the community. Class 2021-1 provided more than 2800 hours of service to the community; 53 cadets earned their high school credentials; others earned 7.0 transferrable credits each. Twenty-eight cadets received vocational training through the Alaska Works Partnership, and all of the cadets received OSHA-10 training along with guidance on future training opportunities in the trades. Sixty-two cadets donated 40 units of blood, potentially saving 120 lives. All cadets completed training in financial responsibility.
The 79 cadets set to graduate this week will join the 6,178 previous graduates since 1994. This year’s graduates are from communities throughout Alaska, including St. Mary’s, Kasigluk, Kipnuk, Unalaska, Petersburg, Juneau, Haines, Palmer, Wasilla, Talkeetna, North Pole, Fairbanks, Girdwood, Eagle River, and Anchorage.
Upon graduation, all cadets will return to the community in a post-residential phase where they will put into practice the skills and principles they learned at the program. The goal of this phase is for graduates to sustain and build on the gains made during the residential phase while serving as a productive member of society.
AMYA is co-sponsored under a cooperative agreement between National Guard Bureau and the State of Alaska, at no cost to those students.
AMYA’s Mission is “To help intervene in and reclaim the lives of youth and produce program graduates with the values, skills, education and self-discipline necessary to succeed as adults.”