SALEMBURG — Throughout the year, leaders from the Tarheel ChalleNGe Academy work to prepare cadets for the future. A renewed partnership with Sampson Community College is helping with the process.
The academy and the college recently held a partnership mixer to renew a relationship between them for the 2017-18 academic year. For another year, contracted instructors from the college will work with cadets through a college and career readiness program. It’s been going on since the early 1990s.
Denah Newman, Tarheel ChalleNGe lead instructor, is very passionate about the mission of the academy. Sponsored by the North Carolina National Guard. The quasi-military program guides high school dropouts, expelled students and other youths facing troubles.
“I’m extremely passionate about our program,” Newman said. “I believe it’s a way of giving kids a second chance. The way I look at it … people are not bad, they just make bad choices or they may need a little direction in their life. That’s when they come to us. That’s what we try to do — provide them that stability, responsibility and direction, to where they gain certain skills while they’re here with us.”
Newman referred to those lesson as collecting “tools for the toolbox” so cadets can be successful in life and redirect their path.
“There’s nothing greater than seeing them walk across that stage at graduation,” she said.
At the academy, cadets are able to take human resource development classes and high school equivalency courses for subjects such as math, science, language arts and social studies.
“There’s a lot of things involved at the college and support so our cadets can be successful as they can be once they graduate from our program,” Newman said.
There’s also a variety of career pathway classes such as early childhood development, health care and industrial maintenance. This comes with the opportunity to earn certificates of completion. Career Readiness Certificates are also offered.
“It’s a portable credential that helps employers know that, even though an applicant may not have a high school diploma or equivalency, they do have the basic skills necessary to hold a job,” Newman said. “We also do placement testing with them.”
Newman said the academy has a great relationship with the college and is glad to be a part of the organization. Dr. Shari Herring, director of the academy, feels the same way when it comes to lifelong success and education.
“It’s an excellent demonstration of the type of relationship that are forged in the state of North Carolina,” she said. “A great partner like Sampson Community College is always a plus for our program and it benefits the state because it’s about the youth.”
She hopes to strengthen the partnership in the future.
“We’re transforming lives here,” Herring said. “Because of our partnership together, it helps with ensuring that we’re producing productive citizens.”
Amanda Bradshaw, dean of workforce development and continuing education for Sampson Community College, is also looking forward to continuing the partnership.
“We’re excited to be able to continue this partnership and working in a unique way with the organization,” Bradshaw said.