|The Mountaineer ChalleNGe Academy provides educational opportunities for at-risk youth, ages 16-18, in a quasi-military program focused on eight core components. In addition, the Mountaineer Job ChalleNGe Program is available on the campus for cadets or recent graduates who want to earn industry-recognized certifications in fields such as manufacturing, medical technician, pre-apprenticeship, energy sector, and more.
“Helping the ChalleNGe Academy was really an easy task,” SGM Leone said. “The ChalleNGe Academy is a great program, a needed program in our state, that provides all kinds of opportunities for the youth of West Virginia.”
As the COVID-19 pandemic continued, SGM Leone ensured that MCA cadets were contacted and welfare checks were conducted regularly. He followed-up with student’s coursework progress and made sure that each household had basic necessities.
First Lady Justice was joined by West Virginia National Guard Adjutant General Maj. Gen. James Hoyer for the award presentation for SGM Leone.
“He has gone above and beyond, particularly during the pandemic,” Maj. Gen. Hoyer said. “We had a unique challenge with our Mountaineer ChalleNGe Academy program. Early on in the pandemic, we had to send young men and women home until we could figure out how to effectively manage the program through a pandemic.”