Thunderbird Challenge Program


824 Park St.
Pryor, OK 74361


  • 16-18 years of age
  • US Citizen or Resident Status
  • Cannot already have his/her High School Diploma or GED
  • Not previously convicted of felony or capital offense.
  • Must be mentally and physically able to complete the program

Thunderbird Challenge Program is located on the former Whitaker Education Training Center grounds in Pryor, on 600 acres of property owned by Oklahoma Military Department property encompassing over 600 acres on the site.

​The nationally recognized program, which is offered through the Oklahoma National Guard and the Oklahoma Military Department, was established in 1993 as one of ten pilot programs for at-risk youth, both male and female.

More than 3,000 Oklahoma youth have graduated from the program.

The mission of the Academy is to affect the lives of Oklahoma youth that have become, or are at risk of becoming high school dropouts. The program intervenes in the lives of the cadets in three important areas:

First, Challenge: Physically; Educationally; and Emotionally.
​Second, Instill Respect: For Self; Others; and Community.
​Third, Education: GED Option; High School Credits (graduates earn 3 credits for graduating TYA, and additional high school credits can be earned through the Oklahoma University High School Option); College Classes; and, Life Skills.

​The overriding focus of the academy is to instill in each cadet a sense of self-discipline and community involvement using methods build around eight core disciplines: Academic Excellence; Life Coping Skills; Job Skills; Health & Hygiene; Responsible Citizenship; Service to Community; Leadership/Followership; and, Physical Fitness.