(KFVS) - Brandon Hoffman, a native of Sparta, Illinois, earned valedictorian of Lincoln's Challenge Academy's Class 45-15.
Hoffman was one of 171 Cadets who graduated from the academy at a ceremony Dec. 18 at the Prairie Capital Convention Center in Springfield, Illinois.
During the graduation ceremony, Hoffman was awarded the $1,000 National Guard Youth Foundation Scholarship, a $1,000 per year Illinois Community College Board Scholarship, the Academic Excellence Award and the Leadership Award.
He is also a qualifier for the Veterans of Foreign Wars' National Youth Scholarship where he can win up to $30,000.
Hoffman received an unspecified monetary award and plaque from VFW Post 6750.
The Illinois National Guard administers the Lincoln's Challenge Academy program, based in Rantoul, Illinois.
The program is designed to give Illinois at-risk youth the opportunity to continue their education and learn life skills in a quasi-military environment.
More than 14,500 Cadets have graduated the 22-week program since its start in 1993.
The academy is accepting applications for the next class which starts in January.