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    Battle Born Youth ChalleNGe Academy shows upward trend in enrollment as fifth class commenced Saturday

    Battle Born Youth ChalleNGe Academy shows upward trend in enrollment as fifth class commenced Saturday

    Photo By Capt. Emerson Marcus | The Battle Born Youth ChalleNGe Academy is a voluntary youth education program...... read more read more



    Story by Capt. Emerson Marcus 

    Nevada Joint Force Headquarters Public Affairs

    The Battle Born Youth ChalleNGe Academy — the voluntary youth education program sponsored by the Nevada National Guard and the state of Nevada for students who are not progressing academically in a timely manner — continues to show a steady uptick in cadet enrollment as it enters its fifth academic cycle since opening its doors two years ago.

    Located in Carlin, Nev., BBYCA has 60 cadets enrolled for the upcoming five-month, in-residence phase of instruction that began Saturday. The graduation date is set for June 14.

    This is the second time the program has exceeded the 60-cadet mark in its history. Average enrollment for the first four cycles was 41.75 cadets, according to BBYCA records. The average graduation rate is 31.5 cadets per cycle.

    “We thank Gov. Joe Lombardo and state lawmakers in the Senate and Assembly for their continued support of the Battle Born Youth ChalleNGe Academy and the Nevada National Guard,” said Maj. Gen. Ondra Berry, Nevada’s Adjutant General. “Without the support of state lawmakers, current and past governors, this DOD-sponsored educational initiative would not be possible in our state, leaving hundreds of our Nevada students without a critical tool to earn back high school credits in time to graduate with their peers.”

    BBYCA is a tuition-free, educational academy encompassing 460 acres on the campus of the Nevada Army Guard’s Elko County Readiness Center. Passed by a state-federal (25%:75%) funding match during the 2019 Legislative Session, the academy operates under the auspice of the National Guard Youth ChalleNGe program with the overarching goal of providing academic assistance to students 16-18 years of age who have dropped out of school or are struggling academically.

    “BBYCA helps Nevada students and improves the dropout rate for school districts,” Dr. Andre Ponder, BBYCA Director, said of his passion to build upon BBYCA’s recent progress. “Our goal is to exceed 100 enrollment and beyond. This is a statewide initiative.”

    Ponder, who previously worked as the superintendent of the Mineral County School District and graduated in May with a doctorate in organizational leadership from Grand Canyon University, said the program relies on communication and cooperation with the school districts throughout the state in addition to the local Elko County School District, which oversees the academic curriculum and provides the teachers at the academy.

    The residential portion of the academy lasts five months and includes physical training and community service in addition to academics. Across the nation, there are 40 National Guard youth academies in 31 states.

    Participants must be: 1) voluntarily applying; 2) 16-18 years old; 3) behind in credits; 4) citizen or legal resident of the United States and the state of Nevada; 5) unemployed or underemployed; 6) willing to be drug-free; 7) not on parole or probation for, not indicted or charged with, not convicted of a felony offense or any offense that would be a felony if charged as an adult; 8) physically and mentally capable of completing the program with reasonable accommodations for physical or other handicaps.

    Eligible youth must apply, attend a program presentation, and participate in an interview before being considered for acceptance to the Academy.

    For information, visit



    Date Taken: 01.16.2024
    Date Posted: 01.17.2024 13:22
    Story ID: 461958
    Location: CARLIN, NV, US

    Web Views: 205
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