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Thunderbird Youth Academy Builds New Barracks For Girls

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Thunderbird Youth Academy is a military-style program for high school dropouts. Thunderbird Youth Academy is a military-style program for high school dropouts.
Rendering of the planned barracks for women at Thunderbird Academy. Rendering of the planned barracks for women at Thunderbird Academy.

NewsOn6.com

PRYOR, Oklahoma -- Thunderbird Youth Academy is breaking ground on a new barracks for female cadets. Their current facilities for girls are no longer adequate, according to TYA Director Jack Ritchie.

"We have seen more and more interest from girls who want to reinvent themselves through the Thunderbird Youth Academy program," Ritchie said. "This new facility will help us accommodate that interest.

The academy will hold a ground breaking for the new barracks at 11 a.m. Tuesday at 417 S. Elliott in Pryor.

The program serves girls who have dropped out of traditional high schools. Of the 105 cadets scheduled to graduate this December, 16 are women. The largest number of females the school has ever graduated was 28 – in 2005.

"My goal is to graduate at least 30 female cadets from our next cycle," the director said.

The new dorm will be able to house 30 to 40 girls and will cost about $503,000. It is funded by a combination of state funds and federal stimulus dollars.

Thunderbird Youth Academy is a free program offered by the Oklahoma National Guard. It gives high school dropouts a chance to complete their education by using military-style discipline, education and leadership training. The program includes a 22-week residential phase and opportunities to complete high school or earn a GED. Students can also attend courses at the Pryor Campus of OSU Institute of Technology.

It was started in 1993.

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