The ceremony completed the TCA 22-week resident quasi-military style school program at the Salemburg, North Carolina campus.
"Be proud, you have the tools and now it is up to you," said TCA Director retired Army Col. Edward W. Timmons to the rows of young men and women in graduation caps and gowns.
The graduates received the gift of a second chance, earned respect and new friends through hard, tough physical and mental tests and trials. Cadets endured early morning runs and countless push-ups and sit-ups. Teachers pushed the cadets to excel in academic, computer and career training.
"Thank you for our journey, it was time for us to make a change," said Cadet William J. Alvis.
They gave the gift of thousands of dollars for charity, hundreds of hours of service with blood donations, disaster relief, community clean up, and duty as Governor and N.C. Senate pages in Raleigh.
"We owe them a round of applause," said Commencement Speaker North Carolina State Senator Brent Jackson to a packed house at the center.
The auditorium echoed with the clapping of friends, family, mentors, TCA and NCNG Soldiers and staff.
The applause was returned as the class rose with an ovation for Jackson as he wished the class a "Merry Christmas and may God bless you."
The academy, with campuses at New London, North Carolina and Salemsburg, North Carolina gives a structured class environment and mentoring program for youth who struggled with traditional High School but volunteered for the program.