FT. MCCOY, Wis. (WKBT) -- Wisconsin Challenge Academy hit two major milestones.

The program is in its 25th year and they welcomed their 50th class.

140 newcomers arrived at Fort McCoy and said goodbye to their families ahead of their five and a half-month stay at Challenge Academy.

After a quarter of a century, one thing remains the same at the academy: saying goodbye to your loved ones never gets easier.

Jeremias Richie is a cadet in Class 50 and his grandfather Howard Richie joined him for his sendoff.

As a Vietnam veteran, Howard knows that programs like these can be difficult at times, but he's confident that it could change his grandson's life forever.

"I believe that if he succeeds in this, then he will have no problem whatsoever doing what he wants to be but he's gotta stay focused," said Howard Richie.

Approximately 92% of cadets finish the program and earn their High School Equivalency Diploma.

4,400 cadets have graduated over the years.

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ALERT NIGHT: Bitterly Cold Tonight into Tuesday Morning

January 30, 2023 @ 7:18 pm

ALERT NIGHT: Very cold temperatures will be the rule tonight with lows in the -10s for most. Winds won't be overly strong, but even just a 5-1…

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Today
8°F
Clear. Lows overnight -13 to -9F.
Tonight
16°F
Clear skies. Low -11F. Winds light and variable.
Tomorrow
13°F
Mainly sunny. Highs in the low teens and lows in the mid single digits.