Military Youth Academy Impacts Lives of Cadets

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by Marissa Silver

Anchorage, AK - As many students are just starting school, a few graduated Friday from the Alaska Military Youth Academy.

Graduations mark the end of a journey for those involved, and this graduation was no different.
 
Each Cadet at the Alaska Military Youth Academy has their own reason for why they participated in the program.
 
"I got kicked out of school, I really wasn't down the right path like the other kids," said John Holm Jr. who is a Graduate of the Alaska Military Youth Academy.
 
So then Holm began homeschool, until his Dad stepped in.
 
"One day he called into his bedroom and he was on his computer, and on his computer screen was Alaska Military Youth Academy webpage and he pulled up the application and told me to fill it out. And I thought that that's a place for kids who are worse off than I am, I thought I would never learn anything from there and so I filled it out just for the heck of it," Holm said.
 
But,. halfway through the program Holm's perspective on the Academy changed.
 
"Every morning when I woke-up there I was just motivated to finish then come home," said Holm. "They just taught me so much, even though I thought I would never learn anything."
 
But, as the graduates crossed the stage Friday, and embarked on the next phase of their lives, they all say that this experience has changed it for the better.
 
"For an 18 year old kid thinking that he already knows a lot of stuff, I really didn't and they taught me a lot of things, they taught me what it means to be, to have dignity, to have honor, courage, commitment," Holm said.
 
"Before my parents, they didn't trust me with anything, they knew I was getting bad grades and all this stuff, but since I have been in this structured environment for about 5 months, 6 months now, I think I will be able to strive forward because I know how to deal with things now because we have so many things to deal with here at the Academy," said Madison Thammavondso who is a Graduate of the Alaska Military Youth Academy.
 
And the Deputy Director of the Academy says it's all about the change the students make within themselves.
 
"We believe that the environment they came from may be somewhat the same, but the child is not the same, that's what makes the difference," said James Jones who is the Deputy Director for the Alaska Military Youth Academy.