• Nationally recognized program offered through the National Guard and the Oklahoma Military Department
  • Established as 1 of 10 pilot programs in 1993
  • Thunderbird Challenge has currently graduated over 3,000 of Oklahoma’s youth (male and female)

Mission of the Program

To intervene in the lives of Oklahoma’s High School Dropouts to affect a positive change in those youth through the following:


  1. Physically
  2. Educationally
  3. Emotionally


  1. For Self
  2. For Others
  3. For Community


  1. GED Option
  2. HS Credits
    1. Graduates will earn 3 credits for graduating TCP.
    2. Additional HS Credits can be obtained through the Oklahoma University High School Option.
  3. College Classes
  4. Life Skills


Thunderbird Challenge Program is located within the city of Pryor in Northeastern Oklahoma. The Program is situated on the former Whitaker Education Training Center grounds and the entire Oklahoma Military Department property encompasses over 600 acres on the site.

Program Overview

  • For the first 22 weeks, enrolled youth are in residence at the Thunderbird Challenge Program campus 24 hours a day, 7 days a week (there are periodic weekend passes). The purpose of this phase is to instill in each Cadet a sense of self-discipline and community spirit using a variety of methods built around the programs eight core objectives which are: Academic Excellence, Life Coping Skills, Job Skills, Health and Hygiene, Responsible Citizenship, Service to the Community, Leadership/Followership, and Physical Fitness.
  • During the 12 month post-residential phase of the program, case managers from Thunderbird Challenge Program will be contacting the graduate and his/her mentor on a monthly basis to follow up and collect data on the continued success of the graduate.


  • 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