Blinn Honors Student Veterans, Raises Awareness of Veterans Issues

By: Blinn College Email
By: Blinn College Email

BRYAN Blinn College will honor America’s military veterans Oct. 10-12 with events designed to raise awareness of the College’s veteran students and the unique challenges they face reintegrating into civilian life and the classroom.

The Honoring Veterans Through Awareness and Participation series begins Thursday, Oct. 10, with an 8 a.m. flag-raising ceremony at the Bryan campus flag poles located in front of the library. The flags will be raised by members of American Legion Earl Graham Post 159.

At noon, U.S. Army Lt. Col. Christy Gantt, Blinn’s Physical Therapy Assistant program director, and U.S. Army Veteran Heather Huhnke, a certified peer specialist and resource coordinator at Brazos Valley Veterans, will be part of a panel discussion in the Barbara L. Pearson Banquet Room titled “Military and PTSD: A Look Inside.”

Blinn-Bryan’s Division of Fine Arts will kick off its 2013 theatre season that evening with “A Piece of My Heart” by Shirley Lauro, a powerful true story about six courageous women sent to Vietnam and their struggle to make sense of a war that irrevocably changed them. The play will be performed at 7:30 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, Oct. 10-12, in the Pearson Banquet Room, and admission is free. Performances are intended for mature audiences.

On Friday, Oct. 11, Blinn will host a brown bag faculty awareness discussion moderated by Dr. Kathy Anzivino, dean of Student Services. Gantt, Director of Disability Services Brenda Wilkins and student veterans Brandon Williams and Michael Hawkins will discuss the challenges student veterans face in their return to civilian life and what their instructors can do to help them reach their academic and personal goals.

At 6 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 12, Blinn will host a flag-lowering ceremony followed by a reception for student veterans and their families prior to that evening’s performance of “A Piece of My Heart.”

The series is designed to raise awareness before Blinn bolsters its Office of Veteran Services with the opening of a new Veterans Resource Center on the Bryan campus Nov. 11. The grand opening will be followed by a veterans resource fair Nov. 12 and a veterans social Nov. 13.

Blinn serves roughly 700 military veterans across its four campuses, matching many four-year universities. Blinn’s Veteran Services office helps student veterans enroll, receive benefits, find jobs, secure aid for their disabilities and get counseling. It also teaches veterans to manage money.

“It’s veterans taking care of veterans,” said Financial Aid Advisor Diektrich Williams.

Blinn enrolled 18,413 students this Fall and has experienced 31.1 percent growth since 2006. Founded in 1883, the College’s tuition and fees average about one-third the cost of the same classes at most four-year public universities in the state. In addition to its four campuses in Brenham, Bryan, Schulenburg and Sealy, the College teaches online courses, dual credit for high school and prepares students for quick employment through its workforce education, technical training and vocational education programs.

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