Director Peter Thomas discusses his involvement with the Lincoln ChalleNGe Academy going back to its creation in 1993 by the Defense Authorization Act. It was created to serve as a youth intervention program for ages 16-18 who had dropped out of school, and did so in partnership with the Illinois National Guard. Thomas talks about the selection of the former Chanute Air Base at Rantoul as its campus, the relationship with the Dept. of Defense, the National Guard, and the State of Illinois, how students become eligible, and the criteria for eligibility. It is a five and a half month academic program followed by a year long mentor program. He also discusses the eight core objectives each cadet completes and the extra activities in which cadets can participate.