How the Appalachian Challenge Academy is Changing the Region for the Better
Chase and James took a field trip to the Appalachian Challenge Academy in Harlan, Kentucky to tour the facility and record this episode of The Hollercast.
Aside from being a BRIGHT Kentucky member, Colby French is the Deputy Director at the Appalachian Challenge Academy. The mission of the Academy is to intervene and reclaim the lives of 16-18 year old high school dropouts, producing the values, life skills, education, and self-discipline necessary to succeed as productive citizens. The institution is regulated by the National Guard Bureau.
The program is split up into two phases. The first phase is a 22 week residential period in which the cadets reside at the facility 24/7. The second phase is the Post-Residential phase. This phase lasts one year after the cadet returns home and it involves regular meetings and reports with an assigned mentor.
Colby taught elementary and high school special education for a couple years before moving to youth challenge. He’s been with the Appalachian Challenge Academy for seven years. He was a classroom educator for five of those years before moving into more administrative roles like the one he’s in now.
Colby wants to help change the perception of “Appalachian kids.” This involves not only changing the way that people outside the region think of them, but also changing how these youth think of themselves.
Find out more about becoming a mentor.