Sunburst Youth ChalleNGe Academy will present high school diplomas or certificates of program completion to more than 180 Southern California youth, during a commencement ceremony for the academy’s 22nd class, at 3 p.m., Friday, Dec. 7, at Cottonwood Church, 4505 Katella Ave., Los Alamitos. Media members are asked to arrive by 2:45 p.m.
Covina Police Department police officer Vanessa Pineda is scheduled to deliver the ceremony’s keynote address. Pineda is a graduate of Sunburst’s ninth class and is the first academy alumna to swear in as an officer with Covina P.D.
Attending dignitaries include Rep. Grace Napolitano, California State Military Reserve Brig. Gen. James Gabrielli, commander of the California Military Department’s Youth and Community Programs Task Force, and Michael O’Toole, Director of Manpower and Reserve Affairs, Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense.
Sunburst is a 17 ½ month voluntary program that aims to intervene and reclaim the lives of 16 to 18 year old at-risk high school students. Through a 5 ½ month residential and academic phase conducted in partnership with the Orange County Department of Education, and a year-long post-residential mentoring phase, the Challenge program produces graduates with the values, life skills, education & self discipline to succeed as productive citizens.
Friday’s ceremony signifies the completion of the residential phase for cadets in Class 22. They began their journey at Joint Forces Training Base, Los Alamitos, in July.
Sunburst was founded in 2008 and is celebrating its tenth anniversary year. The academy graduates two classes annually, in June and December. It is one of three ChalleNGe academy campuses in California.
The National Guard ChalleNGe Program started nationally in 1993. Now in its 25th year, the program has 39 sites nationwide, including three in California, and has impacted the lives of more than 100,000 students.
The story above was released on behalf of Sunburst Youth ChalleNGe Academy. The story and photo below were released on behalf of the Woman’s Club of Cypress.
Woman’s Club of Cypress facilitates book donation to Sunburst
A generous donation of needed books was made to the Sunburst Youth Academy by Delight Sittman through the Woman’s Club of Cypress.
Pictured here are Delight Sittman, Colleen Janssen (President of the WC of Cypress), Cypress Councilwoman Mariellen Yarc, and Chief “K” (Robert Karleskint-Chief Warrant Officer, Lead Counselor), along with various cadets who will be graduating tomorrow!