Lincoln's Challenge commencement set
RANTOUL — Commencement exercises for Lincoln's Challenge Academy class 42 will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday at Rantoul Township High School.
About 260 former Illinois high school dropouts will graduate from the Illinois National Guard youth program.
Lincoln's Challenge students, age 16 to 18, complete a rigorous 22-week resident program at the former Chanute Air Force Base in Rantoul. The program is conducted in a quasi-military environment to provide students a clearly structured and regimented educational environment.
National Guard officials said not only does the program provide former dropouts the education and skills to become successful adults, students leave the program more self-disciplined and with a newfound work ethic that makes them a more valuable asset to society.
The students will return to their communities to begin post-secondary education or enter the work force. After graduation, each student is paired with a volunteer mentor who acts as both an advisor and role model.
The graduating class will be joined at the high school by thousands of family members and friends.
Special guests for the ceremony will include Maj. Gen. William Cobetto, the assistant adjutant general for the Illinois National Guard; Col. Stephen Baggerly, federal manager of Lincoln's Challenge Academy; and the Rev. Larry McMillion of the Jericho Missionary Baptist Church.
Representatives of the Illinois Community College Board will award more than 35 college scholarships to graduating Lincoln's Challenge students.
The next Lincoln's Challenge class is scheduled to begin July 10. Applications are being accepted for the class.
Those interested in enrolling may call 1-800-851-2166 for more information.