ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. - The Freestate ChalleNGe Academy presented 123 cadets who completed its five-month course to Family, friends, distinguished guests and members of the Aberdeen Proving Ground leadership during the Completion Ceremony for Class #41 at the APG North (Aberdeen) post theater Dec. 14.

Led by Director Charles Rose, the cadets received completion certificates during the high school graduation-like event. Several also received monetary awards and scholarships from supporting organizations and educational institutions.

Guests included Maj. Gen. James A. Adkins, Maryland Adjutant General; Glenn Wait, deputy to the APG Garrison Commander; and Dr. Ricky C. Godbolt, guest speaker and director of the Center for Trades and Energy at the College of Southern Maryland.

Godbolt also presented the invocation and benediction. The Maryland Defense Force Band presented the program's music.
"After 22 weeks, I'm happy to say our mission is accomplished," said Rose. "You are returning to the real world to do things you have never done before," he told the cadets. "Cling to the skills you've learned and you will be successful."

Godbolt said that within each cadet beats the heart of a champion. Borrowing from patriotic songs and sayings, he said the "dawn's early light" was indicative of the academy bringing up cadets to what is right and the sound of rolling thunder is heard at the Freestate ChalleNGe academy where "truth is marching on,"

"We hold these truths to be self evident that at Freestate ChalleNGe Academy you can be anything you want to be," he said.
"Most importantly, the academy's cadets learned that if you want success in this world you have to earn it," he said.
"You control your own destiny and the only one who can hold you back is yourself."

Class speakers Mark Pollard and Vanessa Marroquin shared their stories of achievement before the presentation of awards and certificates, led by Rose, Adkins, Godbolt and 1st Sgt. Job Stringfellow.

Scholarships and awards
The top awards for Class #41 graduates went to the following:
Cadet of the Cycle, $200 award, Jennifer Contreras
Most Improved Cadet, $200 award, Mark Pollard and Trinisia Reese
Commandant Award for Leadership, $200 award, Angelica Ayling
FCA Academic Excellence Award, $200 award, Zequan German
FCA Physical Fitness Award, $200 award, Kameron Harris and Tanae Molden
Rotary Club of Towson, $1,000 scholarship, Deandre Fugham
Mrs. Nancy H. Sevier award, $1,000 scholarship, Vanessa Marroquin
Maryland National Guard Foundation, $1,000 scholarship, Kameron Johnson
PEDRO 66 Award, $1,000 scholarship, Robert Smalls
Edward St. John Foundation/Four $1,000 scholarships, Brenda Vasquez, Mark Pollard, Lawrence Robinson and John Meyer
National Guard Youth ChalleNGe Foundation/Four $1,000 scholarships, Zequan German, Bryan Medina, John Mitchell and Jaasiel Headley
Harford Community College, $5,000 scholarship, Ashley Garcia