Family day for cadets in LA National Guard Youth Challenge Progr - WAFB 9 News Baton Rouge, Louisiana News, Weather, Sports

Family day for cadets in LA National Guard Youth Challenge Program

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) -

More than 250 cadets with the LA National Guard's Youth Challenge Program are one step closer to graduation.

A couple thousand family members and friends joined cadets Sunday for Family Day.

"It's very, very emotional for both sides- the parents and the cadets," said Col. Michael Borrel, LA National Guard.

Cadet Logan Kelley from Shreveport gave the morning's prayer while mom watched proudly from the bleachers.

"Thank you, God for the family and friends in our lives who we share this ceremony with today," read Cadet Kelley.

Logan's family says he was a disobedient 16-year-old who read at just a sixth grade level when he entered the program, but now he's reading flawlessly.

"Please bless the cadets of this class as we reflect on our past and anticipate our future," said Cadet Kelley.

The cadets performed a drill they've been perfecting for 17 weeks. Then, it was time to see their families, reuniting after several weeks apart.

"Oh baby, you were so good. I'm so proud of you," Candes Kelley said to her son.

"I couldn't do it without my family. I couldn't do it without my family, without the letters. They break you down, make you want to quit but with each letter you get, it boosts you up and gives you that extra bit of confidence," said Cadet Kelley.

Logan wants a military career in the Navy, following his big brother Colten who's now serving in Bahrain.

"My goal is to make into the navy and be with him, to be able to depend on myself and be a good citizen in life," said Cadet Kelley.

It's a heartwarming moment, but for the cadets there's still work to do. Graduation is next month.

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