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Tennessee Volunteer ChalleNGe Academy Graduation

Friday, December 14, 2018 | 08:20am
Image showing the Tennessee Volunteer ChalleNGe Academy Logo patch on shoulder sleeve of uniform

NASHVILLE, Tenn.–Leaders of the Tennessee Volunteer ChalleNGe Academy will conduct a graduation ceremony from 9:00-10:00 a.m., CST, on Saturday, December 15, 2018 in the Hall of Flags at the Joint Force Headquarters, Tennessee National Guard, 3041 Sidco Drive, in Nashville.

The National Guard Youth Challenge Program is a free, voluntary program that is disciplined, structured and uses a quasi-military model to increase the success rate for “At-Risk” youth, 16-18 years of age.  Participants have the opportunity to enhance their life coping skills, self-esteem and job skills.  Cadets also have the opportunity to take the High School Equivalency Test (HiSet), obtain new and/or recovered credits, or obtain a High School Diploma.  ChalleNGe works with program participants after graduation to help enroll in college, trade school, start a career or join the military.  More than 145,000 students have graduated to date, changing the path for their lives.  By intervening in the lives of troubled adolescents, ChalleNGe is making a difference.  It is the only program of its kind providing graduates with a personal mentor for one year to help the transition into adulthood.

GUEST SPEAKER:  Knox County Juvenile Court Judge and former NFL Standout, Tim Irwin

Timothy Edward Irwin from Memphis, Tennessee, attended Central High School in Knoxville where he was an all-state tight end and nose guard.  At the University of Tennessee, he was a three-year letterman, a two year starter, a captain and a team offensive MVP as a senior. 

In 1981 he was the 74th player selected in the NFL draft by the Minnesota Vikings.  Tim was with the Vikings through 1993 and ended that season with a consecutive starts streak of 197 regular season games and 10 playoff games for a total of 207 consecutive starts.  He was named to the 100 Year Anniversary Team for the University of Tennessee in 1991 and was named to the 40 Year Anniversary Team for the Minnesota Vikings in 2000.  He was also inducted into the Knoxville Sports Hall of Fame in 2001.

Tim graduated from the University Of Tennessee College Of Law in 1990 and was admitted to the Tennessee Bar that same year.  After a successful law practice he was appointed to the position of Knox County Juvenile Court Judge and was officially elected to the position in August of 2006.  He is a member and former chairman of the corporate board of the Boys and Girls Clubs of East Tennessee and has held key positions with many other associations.  In 2014, Judge Irwin received the McClain-Abernathy Award for Outstanding Service and Dedication to the Children of Tennessee.  Since established in 2017 he has been a strong advocate for the Youth ChalleNGe Program in Tennessee.

WHO:                     All Media are invited to attend the graduation ceremony

WHAT:                   Tennessee Volunteer Challenge Academy Graduation

WHEN:                   9:00 –10:00 a.m., CST on Saturday, December 15, 2018

WHERE:                  Hall of Flags, Joint Force Headquarters Tennessee National Guard

                                3041 Sidco Drive

                                Nashville, TN 37204

Anyone who has questions or wants to learn more about TNVCA is invited to attend.  Additional information is available at the following website: or call 629.888.5868 or email