The Mountaineer ChalleNGe Academy is celebrating 20 years. In honor of its anniversary, it invited previous graduates to come back for a reunion.
Hundreds showed up to reconnect with each other and play games. Games were based on things the graduates learned while at the Academy. At that time, however, it may not have been that fun.
"Years ago, we used to have a punishment if you were caught using tobacco, which is illegal. We used to put you on 'Marlburo Mountain' 'Gold Rush,'" said George Samuels, a Cadet Supervisor at Mountaineer ChalleNGe Academy, "and you used to run up and down this hill and we took a couple sand bags and put some tape on them, called them gold, and said it was a 'gold nugget' for the 'Gold Rush.' It was just one of the punishments we came up with our infinite wisdoms."
The ChalleNGe Academy has just under 200 cadets in the 41st class. That class is the Academy's largest ever.
They are only the second class that will be able to earn a high school diploma. Samuels said he believes that is the reason for the large numbers.
The academy graduated around 70 cadets that were the first to be able to earn their high school diploma earlier this year.