The Mountaineer ChalleNGe Academy is pleased to announce Class 2-19 as the 53rd class to complete this West Virginia National Guard Program. Commencement exercises were held Friday, December 13, 2019 at Camp Dawson in Kingwood. A total of 148 graduates from 31 counties across the State of West Virginia successfully completed the requirements for graduation. Major General James Hoyer congratulated the Cadets and gave the commencement address.

The following Cadets participated from Jackson County:

• Cadet Alyssa Davis, daughter of Kira Jones and Timothy Robinson of Ripley, was in Platoon 2. Cadet Davis was recognized for receiving the Good Conduct Ribbon, Commandant’s Cup, S2C Award, Instructor’s List (3), Level I PT Award (2), Mentorship Award, as well as obtaining the six Individual Values Recognition Ribbons. During their time at the Academy, Cadet Davis served in the following leadership positions: Assistant Platoon Leader.

• Cadet Kaiden Hayes, son of Nicole Hayes of Evans and Torren Hayes of Ripley, was in Platoon 3. Cadet Hayes was recognized for receiving the S2C Award (2), Instructor’s List, Mentorship Award, as well as obtaining the six Individual Values Recognition Ribbons.

• Cadet Brett Jacobs, son of Tracy Jacobs of Ravenswood and the late Hans Jacobs of Chetek, Wisconsin, was in Platoon 3. Cadet Jacobs was recognized for receiving the Good Conduct Ribbon, S2C Award (2), Highest Academic Points, Instructor’s List (2), Mentorship Award, as well as obtaining the six Individual Values Recognition Ribbons. During their time at the Academy, Cadet Jacobs served in the following leadership positions: Assistant Platoon Leader.

• Cadet Lucas Keith, nephew of Keith and Debra Hellems of Ripley and son of Warren Binion of Lorain, Ohio, was in Platoon 3. Cadet Keith was recognized for receiving the Instructor’s List, Level I PT Award (3), Mentorship Award, as well as obtaining the six Individual Values Recognition Ribbons. During their time at the Academy, Cadet Keith served in the following leadership positions: Assistant Platoon Leader.

• Cadet Christopher Lovell, son of Jeff and Teresa Archer of Elizabeth, was in Platoon 4. Cadet Lovell was recognized for receiving the Health Ribbon, S2C Award, Instructor’s List, Level I PT Award (3), Mentorship Award, as well as obtaining the six Individual Values Recognition Ribbons.

• Cadet Jason Pence, son of Shannon Pence of Ravenswood, was in Platoon 5. Cadet Pence was recognized for receiving the Good Conduct Ribbon, S2C Award, Honor’s List, Mentorship Award, as well as obtaining the six Individual Values Recognition Ribbons.

• Cadet Garrett Pennington, son of Joshua Pennington of Kenna and Ada Pennington of Cottageville, was in Platoon 5. Cadet Pennington was recognized for receiving the Mentorship Award, as well as obtaining the six Individual Values Recognition Ribbons.

• Cadet Braxton Westmoreland, son of John and Crystal Westmoreland of Ravenswood, was in Platoon 6. Cadet Westmoreland was recognized for receiving the Health Ribbon, Level I PT Award (4), Mentorship Award, as well as obtaining the six Individual Values Recognition Ribbons. During their time at the Academy, Cadet Westmoreland served in the following leadership positions: Assistant Platoon Leader.

All graduating Cadets have completed the 22-week residential phase of ChalleNGe, which includes activities in eight core component areas ranging from Service to Community to Employability Skills. In addition to classroom studies, the Cadets traveled to the State’s Capitol in Charleston. Cadets in this class provided 8,345.25 hours of Service to Community for such organizations as American Red Cross (Blood Drive), Trout for Cheat, Preston County Senior Citizens, Kingwood and Reedsville VFD, Preston County Animal Shelter, Arthurdale Heritage, Operation Christmas Child, Preston County Schools, Shaffer Heritage Farms, Christian Help, and the Preston County Football League. Following graduation, these Cadets will begin a one-year post-residential phase of ChalleNGe that includes placement activities in education and/or employment.

Applications are currently being accepted for Class 2-20 that begins in July. Call toll-free at 1-800-529-7700 for more information.