The Mountaineer ChalleNGe Academy (MCA) was founded in 1993 and is one of the original Youth ChalleNGe Programs. MCA is a 22 week residential quasi military alternative education program. WV at-risk teens aged 16-18 can earn their high school diploma while developing the structure and discipline needed to become a contributing member of society.
Mountaineer ChalleNGe Academy FAQ
Who can attend?
The basic qualifications for acceptance into the program are:
- Applicants must be between 16 and 18 years of age on the start date. Cadets may turn 19 after starting the Program.
- Educationally at-risk.
- Free of illegal drugs or illegally used drugs.
- Mentally stable and able to handle the stress of the program.
- Mentally capable of handling program academics.
- Physically capable of participating in physical training.
- Not currently under indictment or convicted of a felony offense.
- Volunteer to attend - no court order.
- A West Virginia Resident.
Is there a cost?
Parents are not required to pay tuition or other costs associated with the program. The course is free to those accepted, however some personal and clothing items may need to be purchased. ChalleNGe is funded by the US Department of Defense and the State of West Virginia.
When do classes begin?
MCA operates 2 classes per year starting in January and July. Applications are accepted year round and processed for the next available class. A class starts together and graduates together.
What is the hardest part of the program?
The first few weeks at the Academy are the hardest. There are numerous changes: your environment, your diet, your sleep, your physical condition, and your attitude! You're learning to share a room, your bay, with 20 other Cadets. You're learning to take two minute showers. You're under maximum stress with pressure to succeed. Once you learn the system, the weeks just fly. From Opening Day you are only 22 weeks from graduation!
Do Cadets graduate with a credential?
ChalleNGe offers a high school diploma to students who qualify as part of the Option Pathway Program. ChalleNGe is recognized as a "special, alternative education program" by the WV State Department of Education, § 18-2-6, which allows teens to transfer into the program. Diplomas are issued by the home high school and are presented at the MCA graduation. In addition, a variety of training certifications are available.