Commonwealth ChalleNGe

Commonwealth ChalleNGe The Virginia Commonwealth ChalleNGe Youth Academy is a 17-and-a-half month program. Director: Mark Chicoine
Deputy Director: Richard Guzman


Class 60, Week 5, Nov 1, 2023. Greetings. First of all, we have had chilly weather here but training continues. 1st pass just 20 days away.

Commandant wanted to let you know that you should schedule any medical appointments during 1st or 2nd pass, unless it is an emergency. You should contact medical and Commandant for any appointments needed outside pass dates.

Commandant also wanted to remind you that 1st pass is Nov 21. If your cadet needs to get on planes, trains, or buses please schedule the cadet to depart prior to 10am. Return date is Nov 27. Email Commandant if you have any questions. [email protected]

Thanks - Deputy


Class 60; Week 3,10.17.2023. Greetings. Cadets have now been in their classroom routines for a day, so far so good. They look great in the Challenge uniform. Regular weekly phone calls should begin tonight with 1st platoon; tomorrow Wed, 2nd platoon and then Saturday, 3rd platoon. Calls are made in the evening after company PT and dinner. Contact the Team Leader if you have specific questions about the time. Have a great day! - Deputy.


Class 60 - day 11, 10.13.23. If you have not received a call yet, contact the Team leader via text 757-536-1683. Phones did start. Academics begins Monday for all the cadets that includes a schedule that goes from 9am-3:30pm where they will be in different classrooms all day. Not able to upload all the pictures from today yet, but will do it when the first opportunity presents itself. Thanks - Deputy


Class 60, day 12, 10.12.2023. Greetings. Today was the last day of acclimation. Tomorrow morning the candidates will go on the traditional road March to commemorate the end of acclimation. The induction ceremony will be at 1:00pm where they will cite the honor pledge and received their certificates, green phase ribbon and Challenge ball cap. Phone calls will begin after and every cadet will make a call. If you do not receive a call, email the Commandant at [email protected]. Pictures will be tomorrow. Thanks - Deputy.


Class 60, Acclimation Day 9, 10.08.2023. Greetings. Day 9 is over and that means you are a day away from hearing from your candidate. Today’s training consisted of physical fitness exercises, drill & ceremony (marching) and Team Buildings exercises. In addition, they were able to receive a class on Military Customs and Courtesies and a class on defining cadet Leadership Roles in the platoon. The Career Advisors spoke to them about how they will work with them throughout the Residential Phase to get them placed for when they graduate. The teachers also presented the academic expectations when classes begin on Monday 16 October. It has not been an easy nine days for some candidates, but they have made through so far and we expect them to make it through to the end. Thanks - Deputy


Class 60, Acclimation Day 7, 10.09.2023. Greetings. After a brief rest from intense training on Sunday, our Candidates were back in action today. Each platoon took the pre-TABE test which is a time test by subject that lasts about two hours. They also received a class on Ethic, Integrity, and the Chain of Command from the Director. Throughout the day they performed physical fitness exercises and team building activities. They are ready to become Cadets this Friday and make their first phone call to you who have been supporting them throughout. Thanks - Deputy


Class 60; Acclimation Day 5, 10.07.2023. Greetings. Because of the rain, most training occurred indoors. The Commandant spoke to each platoon about expectations and answered their questions. They then received training and practice on preparing their racks (beds), wall lockers and living area for inspection. All physical fitness activities occurred indoors. The candidates continued to review and learn the Cadet Handbook. We also had two alumni from Class 58 (one male and one female) that visited us and spent time speaking to the candidates about their own experience and feelings, like wanting to quit but didn’t, when they were a candidate/cadet. We encourage this because it gives a true perspective to our candidates on regarding the residential phase of the academy and life after Challenge. Six more days of acclimation. Thanks - Deputy


Class 60, Acclimation Day 4, 10.06.2023. Greetings; what a day! Today the candidates took the initial physical fitness test which consisted of push ups and sit ups for 1 minute and a 1.5 mile run. They gave it their best effort and they cheered each other on. Those who finished first, went back to run along side those who were struggling. True teamwork in display. Keep the emails coming. – Deputy.


Class 60, Acclimation Day 3, 10.05.2023. Greetings; another day comes to an end and acclimation period now ends in 7 days, with the induction ceremony occurring October 13th followed by phone calls. However, candidates still have 7 days of training to complete. Now is the time when some candidates will be homesick, but so far, knock on wood, that has not been an issue yet. They enjoyed the team building activities and were extremely motivated throughout the day. In addition, they did excellent during the TABE Locater tests both in testing and behavior. If you have any questions or concerns, email the Commandant ([email protected]) or her assistant ([email protected]). My email is [email protected] or [email protected]. Continue to email your candidates!!!! - Deputy


Class 60, Acclimation Day 2, 10.04.2023. Greetings. Today was a wonderful day for both candidates and the weather. The candidates did exercise all day, to include a long road march, in addition to meeting their counselors and learning drill & ceremony. We closed out the evening with a surprise Fire Drill. Tomorrow, in addition to marching, the candidates will be taking the TABE locater test which is the first test they take to determine their academic placement for school. It is about a 30 minute multi-choice test. Candidates will also be doing Team Building activities to help develop platoon cohesiveness. They will, of course, be doing physical fitness exercise throughout the day during the breaks from training. Keep the emails coming. - Deputy


Class 60, Acclimation day 1; 10.03.2023. Good afternoon. The candidates have been going through gear /uniform distro and putting their items away in their lockers and reading the Cadet Handbook. They also received the Hands Off policy and additional required briefings from the Director. They are preparing to go to dinner shortly, then go into the evening routine which includes additional hygiene, letter writing time and training. Lights out will be around 2100. Tomorrow morning, they will be receiving a briefing from the base Commander and the VBPD and shortly thereafter the Grinder will commence. This is an intense physical fitness session. As part of the session, the candidates are introduced to the Challenge way and the expectations. The physical fitness sessions are led by Cadre. In the afternoon, they will receive classroom instruction on Reporting Procedures and Introduction to Counseling followed by Introduction to Drill & Ceremony (marching, facing movements, etc..). Thanks for emailing you candidate: [email protected] - Deputy


Class 60 day 1 is Tuesday, October 3rd, 2023. Thanks!


Final practice before the big day! We will be in ballroom A, just past Hall A. There is parking directly across the street from the ballroom entrance.


Class 59 doing their first graduation practice followed by a graduation rehearsal this afternoon. In less than a day, they will be graduates! We are so proud of them!!!

Class 59 - Awards Babquet with guest speaker Dr. Haggerty, DDS.

Class 59 - Awards Babquet with guest speaker Dr. Haggerty, DDS.


Class 59 cadets vs Shefiff depart up by 4 2nd half


253 C Street, State Military Reservation
Virginia Beach, VA




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This post is in response to Class 55 Graduation-

Once the graduation ceremony has ended and the Virtual session is over, would their be an opportunity to purchase a DVD? This is just a thought.

Please remember that this is a pivotal moment for all of our young men and women. I am proud of my child's accomplishments. As a parent I would like the opportunity to view this ceremony again and again at my convenience.

Recordings and pictures last a lifetime. Is there anyway we can make this happen for the graduation ceremony?

Additionally, if this was not planned, can you please make the necessary arrangements to make a DVD of the ceremony available to parents and families, since we can no longer take part of the ceremony as previously arranged.
Any updates on possible dates for students to start on campus training? I have reviewed the guidelines for phase 2 and 3. Would the program be able to function under phase 2?
Here is a great link for to study the ASVAP. You can take the practice test and study any areas of weakness. Remember higher scores open more opportunities! If you study daily you'll be ready when you take the pretest in May/June
Good day, 5-2! Haven't heard an update but sending words of encouragement to all of you. Chin up and face the obstacle at can only do one thing at a time. Wishing y'all the best in your studies!
Thank you so much Challenge for all that you are doing not just for my cadet but all the cadets! I am so proud of daughter Leayah Seward! I know without a doubt that my child will walk into greatness! I have cried happy tears everyday! I thank God for Challenge!
Thank you Challenge...You all helped my child do in 6 months what he could not do in 4 years of HS. I just heard my child Cadet Anthony Johnson just earned his GED!! πŸŽ“He is a perfect example to show that traditional schooling doesn't work for everyone!! VA CHALLENGE YOU ROCK!
Again I thank you for boosting his confidence and helping him begin a new chapter in his life!! 😍πŸ₯°πŸ‘¨πŸΎβ€πŸŽ“
How about marching our hot tired Cadets down to the 7-11 for "FREE SLURPEE DAY" today bet 11am-7pm. I think that would be a great treat!! I know that is not in your POD but maybe you could add it!!😍πŸ₯΅πŸ‘
My son AJ, Class 51, 1st Plt came home last Wednesday on his 1st pass and when I say NON
STOP I mean non stop!! He has not stopped talking about the program. I know this was the best decision he has made in his 18 yo. He has talked about

everything that has to do with the CHALLENGE". I have never seen my child so proud of his accomplishments like he is now. He has marched for me, sang cadence to me, showed me the exercises he does daily along with the ones they do for punishment!! He has gotten up early in the morning to go jogging!! He must have told me 100 times over how he can't believe he was chosen many times to be the 1st at something in this class, ie he made 1st draft of Silver Phase. Honor Guard, Platoon Sgt.
The Kicker was on day 2 of being home he said to me and I quote, "Mom it feels weird being home. I don't know what to do with myself". He kept saying if I were at the challenge I'd be doing this or that. The structured environment the Challenge provides is working very well for him!!
Well tomorrow I give my child back to the Challenge and I will rest easy because next to home I know he is in GREAT hands! Thank you challenge for all you are doing for my child and all the youth in the program...YOU ALL ROCK!!
What does being put on Fast Track mean?
Good to see Commonwealth Challenge youth group Academy doing what no other for its Country and not what your country can do for you i appreciate all in all beginn the center none end ending future thank God for it Forefathers build this country on the very stuff Amen