Former ChalleNGe cadet speaks at gala

Charleston native Adam Cleek had a narrative with a presumed ending — his parents divorced when he was 8, started hanging out with the wrong crowd in junior high, then dabbled in drugs before getting kicked out of South Charleston High School. When he enrolled in the Mountaineer ChalleNGe Academy he said he experienced success for the first time in his life.

Cleek shared his story Feb. 24 with some 800 Congressional, corporate, military and community leaders at the 10th anniversary of the National Guard Youth Foundation ChalleNGe Champions Gala in Washington, D.C. Last year the NGYF Youth ChalleNGe Programs graduated a record number of 9,300 teens.