Staff Sgt. Walter Lowell
Public Affairs Detachment
– The inaugural class of students in the Battle Born Youth ChalleNGe Academy
made Nevada history after 21 cadets graduated from the residential phase of the
program Friday during a ceremony at the Elko Convention Center. All 21 students
completed the rigorous 22-week residential portion of the program and are
transitioning to the one-year mentorship phase of the program as they return to
their respective local, traditional high schools.
just last February, the Battle Born Youth ChallenNGe Academy is the state- and
Nevada Guard-sponsored educational academy participating in the overarching
National Guard Youth ChalleNGe Program. It is a preventive rather than remedial
at-risk youth program that includes voluntary participants 16-18 years of age
who have dropped out of school or are not satisfactorily progressing
academically, are unemployed or under employed, drug-free, and crime-free.
director Lauren Schulman said the first class of BBYCA students proved to be
class established a standard of excellence that all future classes will aspire
to match,” Schulman said. “The students all made a remarkable journey from
compliance to self-reliance.”
said two of the 21 students are now back on track to graduate with their local
Class of 2022 peers in June. The 19 younger students who completed the
residential phase also made enough academic progress to graduate on time with
the Classes of 2023 and 2024 if they continue to accrue credits as scheduled.
class worked on far more than just academics during the fall semester; Schulman
said each student recorded at least 40 hours of service to the Elko County
community last autumn, including work in cooperation with the Bureau of Land
Management and the California Trail Interpretative Center.
graduation of the students from the residential phase of BBYCA marked the
realization of a dream come true for Nevada Guard officials, state legislators
and educators, and BBYCA supporters across the Silver State. The idea of the
Battle Born Youth Challenge Academy was brought to light by Heather Golding and
Grace Nichols of Reno in 2016 when they inquired with former Adjutant General
retired Brig. Gen. Bill Burks about the possibility of the National Guard’s
regimented Youth ChalleNGe Program expanding to the Silver State.
measure to establish the BBYCA was passed by the legislature in 2019. The
academy received $500,000 annually from the 2019 legislature and it also
receives about $1.5 million annually in federal funds.
previous Elko County Readiness Center, which previously housed one detachment
the 593rd Transportation Company, serves as the site for the campus for the
said the BBYCA could accommodate 55 students during the upcoming Spring 2022
semester and the program was accepting applications. She also encouraged anyone
interested in developing the future leaders of Nevada to apply for a cadre
Battle Born Youth ChalleNGe Academy graduating Class of 2021 included (with age
and hometown): Adams, James, 16, Carson City; Akmal, Imani, 17, Las Vegas;
Arceneaux, Wanda, 16, Las Vegas; Bluemel, Lukas, 16, Spring Creek; Brown,
Coral, 17, Elko; Brown, Ezra, 17, Battle Mountain; Castanon Lopez Jr.,
Fernando, 19, Las Vegas; Cotner, Madison, 17, Sun Valley; Cruz, Chantal, 16,
Elko; Douglass, Joshua, 16, Reno; Doxey, Randall, 16, Elko; Egloff, Aaron, 17,
Sparks; Martinez, Lissete, 16, Sun Valley; Mendez-Portillo, Rolando, 17, Las
Vegas; Miley, Samuel, 17, Spring Creek; Miranda Sanchez, Daniel, 17, Henderson;
Nakooka, Tristan-Chauncey, 17, Las Vegas; Oros, Braxton, 17, Elko; Pena Solis,
David, 17, Sparks; Snell, Christian, 16, Tonopah; and Yanez, Adan, 16, N. Las
detailed information on the academy and the application process, call
775-684-9340 or visit https://nvng.nv.gov/bbyca.