New National Guard program can net HS dropouts their diplomas

High school dropouts between the ages of 17 and 19 can earn their diplomas at the new Army National Guard Patriot Academy.

The Patriot Academy, the first of its kind in the United States, will open June 1.

An open house to explain the concept will be held Wednesday, April 8, from 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Fort Wayne Armory, 130 W. Cook Rd., Fort Wayne.

The open house is open to parents, teachers, guidance counselors, school administrators and educators from alternative learning centers, as well as potential students.

Those who enroll in the Patriot Academy will first undergo basic military training, then return to the Patriot Academy for 10 months of classes which will end in a high school diploma. They will then move on to advanced military training and will serve a total of six years in the Indiana National Guard, with the time at the Patriot Academy counted toward those six years.

Students will receive full military pay while attending the academy, which is located in the former Muscatatuck state hospital south of Indianapolis. The complex, now owned by the National Guard, is also home to the Muscatatuck Urban Training Center.

To enroll, students must be between 17 and 19 years old, have no major legal issues, be within 12 credits of graduation and be withdrawn from school for at least six months. The program is not open to students who are currently in high school.

Students must meet Army medical standards, can not have any legal dependents and must enlist in the Army National Guard.

A second class will be enrolled at the academy in August of 2010.

For more information, contact 1st Sgt. Ricky Weber at 409-2166 or ricky.weber@us.army.mil. Additional information about the academy is available online at www.virtualarmory.com/PatriotAcademy/PatriotAcademy3b.aspx.