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The Texas ChalleNGe Academy is a voluntary youth education program of the Texas National Guard.  The program offers an option for students 16-18 years old who are unable to succeed in more traditional settings.  Applicants may be behind on credits, have truancy issues, misdemeanors, or simply be wandering off track.  The common denominator with all of our students is that they need or want more direction in their lives. 

By implementing a military model, the Texas ChalleNGe Academy helps students change how they see themselves, and in doing so, helps them change how they see their futures and what they believe they are capable of, deserving of, and willing to work toward. 

The program is designed with these eight core components in mind:

Academic Excellence*                   Life Coping Skills

Health and Hygiene                      Job Skills

Leadership/Followership               Physical Fitness

Responsible Citizenship                Service to the Community

*Depending on the individual student, this may mean a high school diploma, a GED, or recovery of credits so that he/she may return to their home campus on track and with a different mindset.

Cadets spend 5 ½ months at the Academy working to improve themselves academically, physically, socially, and emotionally.  Upon graduation, they return home as stronger, better versions of what they used to be; however the return home can be difficult for some graduates.  Although, as an individual they have changed, the environment, their friends, families, and schools have not.  Therefore, to alleviate some of the stress involved in returning, each cadet will have a mentor.  This mentor is someone who is able to communicate with the cadet/graduate at least once per week and see them face-to-face at least once per month.  Mentors are there to help the young people through that first year after graduation; in which they provide guidance and keep the graduates accountable for the goals they have set for themselves. 

The Texas ChalleNGe Academy is a Department of Defense program operating under the National Guard and is one of 35 such programs across the nation.  In July of this year, the Texas National Guard will have two campuses.  The first, TCA-West will remain in Sheffield, Texas with TCA-East welcoming its inaugural class in Eagle Lake.  Each campus can accommodate 150 students from across the state.  As a program of the Texas National Guard, it is funded by the government (75 percent federal, 25 percent state) and is therefore free to the students and their families.  The only costs involved will be for items supplied directly to the students including: boots, school supplies, phone cards, hygiene items, etc.

If you believe this program may be a good fit for your family, or would like more information about the academy, please visit www.texaschallengeacademy.com or contact your local recruiter Lisa Williams at lwilliams@ricecisd.org or (979)232-1594.

- Contact Lisa at  
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