MONTGOMERY, WV (WVNS) — Cadets marched down the street as the Mountaineer ChalleNGe Academy officially opened for its first week.
Paul Perdue, the Program Manager at Mountaineer Challenge Academy, said the school is geared towards students who are at risk of not graduating high school.
“Mountaineer ChalleNGe Academy is a quasi-military environment that kids can come to. The kids that come here are 16 to 18-years-old and they are at risk of not graduating high school,” Perdue explained.
The program lasts for 22 weeks and when students finish the program, they receive their diplomas. All students follow a strict schedule and dress in uniform.
“Everybody is on a level playing field. There is no name brand clothes here ,everybody wears the same thing. Everybody looks the same. All that traditional stuff that is in a school room setting that can take away from a child’s education is not here,” Perdue continued.
Mountaineer ChalleNGe Academy took over the old WVU Tech campus. The school left the city of Montgomery three years ago. Greg Ingram, the Mayor of Montgomery, said the move had a big impact on the local economy.
“It was a very big impact. It resulted in business closures. It resulted in a lot of broken hearts. It was a time where folks thought it was the end of Montgomery,” Ingram said.
Ingram said he is hopeful Mountaineer ChalleNGe Academy will replace the jobs that were lost, and bring in more people to the city.
“Now we have parking problems here in Montgomery, and he haven’t had that problem in three to four years. That’s a blessing,” Ingram explained.
The school is completely free to attend. To apply, visit the academy’s website.