News: Congressman Declares Military High School for Dropouts a Success
Story by 1st Lt. Kyle Key
U.S. Representative Baron Hill, who represents the 9th District of Indiana, has made several visits to the Patriot Academy since its beginning in June 2009 to encourage Soldiers to stay the course in order to earn their high school diplomas. This time, Hill personally returned to the academy Wednesday, March 31, to congratulate each Soldier, staff and cadre for what he called a "success story" for the first year of the high school.
Patriot Academy Commandant Col. Perry W. Sarver, Jr. briefed Hill prior to meeting with the graduates to update him on the past year and current projections on the upcoming class, scheduled to begin June 1.
"We graduated 38 students from 16 states for our first year," Sarver told Hill. "Four students who were not able to complete their degree requirements, received their GED through the Guard's Professional Education Center at Camp Robinson, Arkansas. This year, we'll grow to 250 students from around the nation who will better themselves, their communities and their nation." Sarver said students contributed more than 550 hours of community service to the area.
Hill listened and responded to each graduate's personal story of triumphs over challenges in their lives.
"You guys are an inspiration for a lot of reasons," said Hill. "Reason number one: who knew that this thing was even going to work? You're looking at some men and women who put their necks out on the line for you guys. I'm sure that they guided you along the way, but you had to respond to what they were trying to teach you. And because you responded to the challenge, there's going to be 250 new people coming into the next class. And that's because you were a success in your class. So, the experiment worked."
"I am so delighted that you guys from all over the United States, were kind of down on your luck a little bit, are now back on top of your game," Hill continued. "And good things are now to come."
The Patriot Academy is the Department of Defense's first accredited high school for service members by a state department of education. Once applicants complete basic training, they report to the Patriot Academy to begin their academic training which lasts three to nine months depending on courses needed to graduate.
Each week, students attend five days of class, conduct six days of physical training and one day of military training. Soldiers are issued laptops and receive a tailored degree completion program according to their past transcripts. They are also provided full-time pay and benefits along with meals and housing.
The Patriot Academy accepts male and female applicants who are eligible to serve in the Army National Guard between the ages 17 and 21, must have successfully completed their sophomore year of high school, be out of school for at least six months, have no sole custody of dependents and possess no felony offenses.