Sunburst Youth Challenge Academy helps troubled kids turn around

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Sunburst Youth Challenge Academy at a National Guard base in Los Alamitos instills military discipline in high-school dropouts. (KABC)

Troubled kids who dropped out of high school are getting a second chance in life, if they're willing to go through the rigors of a military-like academy.

The Sunburst Youth Challenge Academy, at the National Guard Joint Forces Training Base in Los Alamitos, takes in kids who dropped out because of problems like drugs or alcohol and truancy.

On average, most cadets come in with a grade point average under 1.0 and leave with a 3.8 or higher. The academy is a voluntary program - the kids aren't sentenced to attend by a judge. But sometimes they are referred by LAPD officers who think they know a troubled teen who deserves another chance.

The five-month program claims a 90-percent success rate.

"I get to finally turn my life around," said school cadet Hector Magana, who was homeless and living in his car when he applied to the program. "Instead of going down the wrong path, now I'm going down a better path."
Related Topics:
educationhigh schoolLos AlamitosOrange County
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