ALEXANDRIA, Va., Jan. 13, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- The National Guard Youth Foundation (NGYF) today announced it has selected the Wisconsin ChalleNGe Academy of Fort McCoy as the winner of its YouTube Video ChalleNGe. The NGYF designed the contest to engage cadets to creatively share their personal experiences and discuss how the ChalleNGe Program has changed their lives. The National Guard Youth ChalleNGe Program is a unique voluntary program that gives high school dropouts a second chance to earn their high school diploma or general equivalency degree.
The Wisconsin ChalleNGe Academy submission was one of 20 videos submitted by programs around the country. The Board of Directors of the National Guard Youth Foundation selected the winning video from the five most-viewed and "liked" videos posted to the program's YouTube Channel. The five cadets who created the winning video used an Ultra HD Flip Video provided by Microsoft to shoot footage in keeping with the theme "Dreaming to Achieving Through ChalleNGe." Each cadet -- Paul Becker, 18, of Saukville; Devan A. Farnsworth, 17, of Madison; Taylor Jean O. Maciosek, 18, of Milladore; Denzel J. Parker, 17, of Milwaukee; and Michael G. Schiffer, 17, of West Salem -- will receive a Flip Video, a $2,000 scholarship and a trip to the Sixth Annual ChalleNGe Champions Gala in Washington, D.C. The Wisconsin ChalleNGe Academy will also receive a $5,000 scholarship. To view all of the submissions, please visit the Program's YouTube Channel.
"We wanted to get the point across that a lot of people come into the program with problems, but you can leave with a better future," said Wisconsin ChalleNGe Academy cadet Taylor Jean O. Maciosek. "Knowing that our hard work is going to be shown to others and acknowledged is really exciting."
"We created the YouTube Video ChalleNGe contest to bring awareness to the dropout crisis and the tremendous success of the ChalleNGe Program," said Col. James Tinkham (ret.), executive director of the National Guard Youth Foundation. "We are so proud of those cadets who openly shared their personal struggles and successes through the ChalleNGe Program. They are living testaments to the power of a second chance."
"Today, we're in the midst of a national crisis with one in three high school students -- 1.3 million youths -- dropping out of high school each year," said Gail Dady, president of the National Guard Youth Foundation Board of Directors. "Few people are aware of what the National Guard does for our youth. The success of the young men and women who graduate is remarkable and an inspiration to us all."
The National Guard Youth ChalleNGe Program is a 17-month voluntary program with a 5.5-month residential phase and 12-month mentoring phase. There are 33 program sites in 27 states and Puerto Rico. Since its inception in 1993, nearly 100,000 students have graduated from the Program. In 2009, 91 percent of graduates earned their high school diploma, general equivalency degree or returned to high school.
About the National Guard Youth Foundation
The National Guard Youth Foundation is a non-profit 501(c) (3) whose mission is to support the National Guard Youth ChalleNGe Program in its efforts to raise awareness of the growing high school dropout crisis in the nation and its impact on the economy and national security. The National Guard Youth Foundation provides the ChalleNGe Program with scholarships, training and workforce transition assistance to graduates, while also increasing the visibility of the program and advocating for program goals and funding. In cooperation with the ChalleNGe Program, the National Guard Youth Foundation assists youths who drop out of secondary school to improve their life skills, education and employability, creating the next generation of skilled workforce in America. For more information about the National Guard Youth Foundation, please visit www.ngyf.org.
SOURCE National Guard Youth Foundation