New Cadets Celebrate Accomplishment

On "Crossover Day," when successful candidates ended a two-week boot camp, tears and congratulations filled an auditorium as each earned the rank of cadet. But there was still more to come, they were reminded.
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Trying Transition for a Cadet Hopeful

Dawn Harvey, 19, chose to attend Freestate Challenge in order to better herself but had some trouble adjusting.
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New Start, Discipline for Teens

In the first two weeks at Freestate, students go through the grueling "hard core" challenge.
Read Part One »


"Last Chance" High School: Part 2

Teenagers at Freestate work through tough times during their first two weeks. Some cross over to become cadets while others are sent home.

"Last Chance" High School: Part 1

At-risk teenagers who struggled in traditional high school try to make it through the military-style Freestate Challenge Academy.


At-Risk Teens Find Discipline

For those who endure Freestate's boot camp, the next five months may be the opportunity they need.

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About this Series

This July, Washington Post reporter Michael E. Ruane followed the local teenagers in The Freestate Challenge Academy's Class 33 through the rigorous two-week boot camp that begins each term at the intense military-style high school in Maryland. The students who made it through boot camp earned admission to a program that offers a GED and, perhaps, discipline and teamwork that could help them throughout their lives.

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