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Mountaineer Challenge Academy welcomes its first class to the town of Montgomery

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FAYETTE COUNTY (WVVA)-- A 22-week program for students who are at risk for not graduating high school has moved to Fayette County.

Students moved in to the Mountaineer Challenge Academy on October 11th, one resident said it's a sight that brings pride to his heart.

"It's a good program it does a lot of good for the kids I know it did good for my oldest son, he's doing great now. It really changed his life, you know, at a time when he needed to change. So, I think it's a great thing," said resident of the Smithers-Montgomery area Jeff Zickafoose.

The program is filling in the void on the old WVU Tech campus, a space that opened when the school moved to Beckley six years ago.

This campus offers amenities that are a perfect fit for the Mountaineer Challenge Academy South, said the program director.

"There was already a dining facility that was pristine, something we could move into we have dorms that we can go into so this college atmosphere gives us the buildings that we need and it helps us to also serve the southern part of West Virginia," said program director Paul Perdue.

Montgomery's Mayor said the economic boost to the city takes a backseat to the opportunities the program offers it's cadets.

"The big win is for the kids, second is the economy. But, these kids I've been over there and watched them do their cadences and their marching and I think it's just an awesome opportunity for kids that may not have that opportunity in life," said Mayor Greg Ingram.

"We plan to make the program successful by following the map they've lead up North, so as far as I'm concerned as long as there's a need for our kids we'll be here," Perdue said.

When it comes to COVID, students and faculty will be tested for COVID-19 monthly.

In addition, daily temperature checks will be conducted before and after each day to ensure safety for everyone.

Click here for more information on how to apply for the free program.

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Tiara Brown

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