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Challenge Academy Cadets get surprise from green and gold

SPARTA, Wis. - It can be tough for students to stay motivated when the end of the school year is only a few weeks away.

But Cadets in the Challenge Academy, the National Guard program at Fort McCoy for at-risk teens, had a surprise on Friday that is just the extra boost of energy they needed.

Every year a few Green Bay Packers players travel across the state on a tailgate tour.

The goal is to show the fans their appreciation and raise money for charities, but this year they made a special stop at Fort McCoy.

"There was a rumor going around it was some Packers players so I was really excited," said Challenge Academy Cadet Zoe Teletzke.


The rumor was confirmed with a quick glimpse of the Packers tour bus out the window.

"I watched them walk in and my eyes just bugged big," said Challenge Academy Cadet Mitchell Hilton.

After some quick introductions, all six Packers began sharing their life experiences and encouraging the cadets to turn any adversity into good.

"There are no circumstances you cannot overcome," said former Packer Aaron Taylor.

"I think my purpose was for my dad to recover from drugs and alcohol. I wanted to do better in my life to reach out to others," said Green Bay Packers wide receiver Randall Cobb.

While the message is important coming from anyone, receiving it from the green and gold doesn't hurt.

"To hear it from an NFL football player means a lot more," said Challenge Academy Director Mike Murphy.

"It was really, really good. Really motivating," said Hilton.

"Some of them were telling us we inspire them and they really look up to some of us and they really connected with some of our stories. We're getting feedback that we are helping them. I think that's definitely a feeling we're going to remember and cherish," said Cobb.

As the Pack loaded up and headed out, it was clear the impact of their hour-long visit will last much longer.

"There's no words to describe it. No matter what you do in life, you have to try your hardest and move forward no matter what," said Hilton.

The director of the Challenge Academy said almost all the cadets are Packers fans.

And while the event was for the cadets, some of the staff were also taking advantage of the opportunity to meet some of the players.  

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