The Oregon Youth Challenge Program graduated its largest-ever class Wednesday, with 139 students.

The tuition-free, residential alternative high school associated with the National Guard is located east of Bend and draws at-risk students from all over Oregon.

“It’s a monument to these young people who have come so far (after) struggling academically and behaviorally,” said David Sutterfield, regional coordinator. “The change that we as … staff see is insurmountable. The parents have seen their cadets only twice in the past 22 weeks, and the change they see is magical — you can feel it in the air.”

After a $10 million construction and renovation project is complete in 2020, the program will be able to enroll more than 80 additional students per term.

21995197