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Teens graduate from Youth Challenge Academy
Ryan Smoot - photo by Photo provided.
Two Richmond Hill teens, Ryan Smoot, 18, and Zachary Nowell, 16, graduated from the Fort Stewart Youth Challenge Academy (YCA) on June 19. Each earned their GED and ranked in the top ten out of a class of over 200.

Smoot, who is currently enrolled in Savannah Tech and taking summer classes, was happy for the YCA experience. “It’s a very good program. I’m glad I went. I loved it, and it changed my life.” He hopes to build a career in the military.

Nowell received a scholarship offer and numerous award ribbons during his time with the YCA. “It was definitely mentally challenging, a test of patience, but of course the best mind frame to keep was what all the rewards at the end of it would be.” Nowell will be attending Georgia Tech this coming semester.

Georgia’s Youth Challenge Academy, operated by the Georgia National Guard, is a 22-week, in-residence program targeting “at-risk” teens ages 16-18. It provides a structured, military-style environment, and stresses academics, discipline, personal responsibility, and physical fitness.

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