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NEWS | July 25, 2023

Recent ChalleNGe graduate pursues U.S. Coast Guard Scholars program, future appointment to Coast Guard Academy

By Staff Reports |

Konner Wiggins, a graduate of Class 56 of the Commonwealth ChalleNGe Youth Academy, joined the U.S. Coast Guard July 10, 2023, and will serve as an E-2 while he completes the U.S. Coast Guard Scholars program with 73 other high school graduates from around the world.
Once he completes the program at Marion Military Institute in Alabama, Wiggins will then receive a full appointment to the U.S. Coast Guard Academy in Connecticut, where he will run on the school’s Division III track program.
“I'd like to express my deepest gratitude for the Virginia Commonwealth ChalleNGe,” said his sister, Tiaira Walker. “Without this program, we could not even dream about this level of a secure future for Konner. The discipline and motivation he received made such an impact on him mentally and emotionally.”
Commonwealth ChalleNGe is the Virginia component of the National Guard Youth ChalleNGe Program, a 17-and-a-half-month program designed to promote academics, attention to detail, time management, and leadership while promoting self-esteem, confidence and pride.  
“The academic, community service and extracurricular opportunities you provided allowed him to make up for years of inaction and prove to college admissions that he has what it takes,” she added. “By offering a way for him to run AAU Track, which he never had the opportunity to ever do before, his scores achieved while in ChalleNGe allowed for him to catch the attention of the USCGA track coach as well.”
His sister described the moment when Wiggins said goodbye.
“While cadets and parents were crying during our five-minute goodbye, Konner was confident and ready with no tears in sight,” she recalled. “He said I'm ok, ‘ChalleNGe prepared me for this.’ It was such a proud moment to see him excited for the next chapter of his life.”
For more information on Commonwealth ChalleNGe, visit

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