Alaska’s Youth Military Academy celebrates graduation

Alaska’s Youth Military Academy celebrates graduation
Updated: Jun. 17, 2022 at 7:30 AM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - After a grueling 22 weeks of hard work and drilling, the Alaska Youth Military Academy class of 2022 walked across the graduation stage on Thursday morning, receiving their diploma.

“I’m trying to control myself because I don’t want to overload you know,” Vincent Gaspar, a graduating cadet, said.

Gaspar, according to his mother Margie Gregorich, entered the program voluntarily so that he could catch up on school credits.

“‘He put a lot of hard work in and effort, and he made up a lot of credits for school. So, I’m very happy,” Gregorich said.

This year, two-thirds of their 70 graduates also finished the program while receiving their GED or high school diploma. However, around 30 cadets, according to participants, dropped out throughout the program.

“It was pretty difficult,” Angelito Vasquez, one of the graduating cadets said. “The TL’s and all the other cadets helped me go through it and I thought about leaving many times but I just kept pushing.”

The program for many, organization leaders said, was a second chance. As graduates prepare to walk off into a new chapter of their lives, Vasquez said he hopes his next steps will include joining the Air Force. But for now, it is just a moment of celebration.

“Probably go to the gym and have some fun,” Vasquez.

The program’s next start date is on July 20. Enrollment for the next cycle is open through July 19. Those interested can find an application on the Alaska Youth Military Academy’s website page.

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