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    Groundbreaking Ceremony for Second N.C. Tarheel ChalleNGe Academy

    Groundbreaking Ceremony for Second NC Tarheel ChalleNGe Academy

    Photo By Lt. Col. Matthew Devivo | West Stanley County's Junior Air Force ROTC color guard opened the ceremony. The...... read more read more



    Story by Lt. Col. Matthew Devivo 

    North Carolina National Guard

    NEW LONDON, N.C. – A groundbreaking ceremony was conducted here, Oct. 31, 2014, to celebrate the beginning of the renovation process in which the New London Choice Middle School will transform into North Carolina’s second Tarheel Challenge Academy. The ceremony was attended by local, state and N.C. Guard leaders.

    NCNG’s Tarheel Challenge Academy’s central campus became a reality thanks to the combined efforts of the National Guard Youth Challenge program, the N.C. Guard, state legislatures, Stanly County leaders and New London officials. The 20-acre property will undergo a $1.9 million renovation before its inaugural class begins in August 2015. The academy will have a 300 bed dormitory with 19 classrooms, administrative offices and athletic fields.

    To help address the state's high school dropout problem, the N.C. Guard determined a need to increase the annual number of Tarheel Challenge graduates with a second site centrally located in the state.

    “This second NCNG Tarheel Challenge site will provide more western and central N.C. at-risk youths the opportunity to redirect their lives and become productive, employed, law abiding citizens of North Carolina,” said state representative Justin Burr, a steadfast supporter and general assembly advocate for Tarheel Challenge.

    Based on Tarheel Challenge briefs to the general assembly and other officials, the potential exists for the New London campus to provide a $7.5 million economic impact to the county and local community with up to 145 new jobs.

    “When this school closed over four years ago, a part of the town died with it,” said Tate Daniels, the mayor of New London. “With the opening of this academy, our town has new life and excitement for its future.”

    Even though the North Carolina National Guard sponsors the Tarheel Challenge Academy and it is structured in a quasi-military school setting, cadets have no military obligations for attending.

    “We have a vested interest in Tarheel Challenge because it is the single most value-added program the NCNG provides to the communities of our state,” said Maj. Gen. Greg Lusk, the adjutant general of North Carolina. “Our commitment to this youth program and our communities is resolute. Partnering together we have the awe-inspiring opportunity to positively change the lives of thousands of at-risk youths.”

    N.C.’s Tarheel Challenge is a six-time national award winning program in which 75 percent of the funding ($2.25M) is provided by the federal government. This funding eases the burden on North Carolina taxpayers and gives a valuable resource to young adults in need of direction and support.

    High school dropouts are a huge drain on taxpayers because dropouts typically become dependent on Medicaid and social service agencies, or they find themselves as another criminal statistic.
    Another benefit from this central campus is that it will have strong ties with the Stanly County school system and the State Community College System, which will ensure further opportunities for graduates to improve their lives through education.

    “I fully support and look forward to partnering with Tarheel Challenge,” said Dr. Terry Griffin, superintendent of Stanly County Schools. “A youth program that effectively develops a path for young adults to earn their high school equivalency diploma and possibly attend community college or vocational schools is a win for that individual, their family, their community and the state.”

    North Carolina's Tarheel Challenge Academy began in 1994 in Sampson County. Over the years the academy has gradually increased its capacity and graduation goals. A total of 3,806 young men and women have graduated from the N.C. program with 72 percent receiving their GED. When the New London campus opens, NCNG’s Tarheel Challenge Academy graduation rate will increase from approximately 270 graduates per year to over 500.



    Date Taken: 10.31.2014
    Date Posted: 11.03.2014 11:29
    Story ID: 146843
    Location: NEW LONDON, NC, US

    Web Views: 1,869
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