Local News

Tar Heel Challenge Faces Its Own

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Supervisor Dale Autry
CLINTON — The Tar HeelChallenge, a program aimed at redirecting teens who have dropped out ofschool or been expelled, is facing its own challenge: funding.

The program is run by the National Guard, and is a mixture fo bootcamp and high school. Success in the program nets kids their GeneralEquivalency Degrees (GED), but it also builds self-esteem, teamwork andlife skills.

That's the good news. The bad news is that for the second year in arow, the program's budget has been cut, this time by half.

Cadet Supervisor Dale Autry says he is trying to concentrate on runningthe program, not letting the money woes overwhelm him.

One hundred cadets at a time participate in the program, which lasts 22weeks. Cadet Jessie Hendrix says he has been favorably impressed by allthe extra aspects of the program, because he expected it to be strictlyconcentrating on the GED.

An abandoned high school in Clinton serves as headquarters.

Tar Heel Challenge administrators hope to bring the program'seffectiveness to the attention of the North Carolina General Assembly,because 80 percent of high school dropouts eventually get in troublewith the law unless they have a program like the Challenge.

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