Only a handful of weeks before their actual graduation, the staff and faculty of College of the Canyons honored the graduating veterans of the COC Class of 2019 Friday night.
The veteran dinner recognized approximately 20 College of the Canyons veteran students, including veteran dependent students, who planned on leaving COC to go on to either higher education or their respective professional fields.
“It’s really challenging for veterans to transition as they transition from acclimating back into society and returning to school so they can retain jobs skills and training so they can move forward,” said Renard Thomas, director of veteran services at COC. “And tonight is to honor them and encourage them onto the next step.”
During the event, veterans were presented with a special red, white and blue cords to wear at the college’s annual commencement ceremony. They also received certificates from the college denoting their completion of their time at COC while being a veteran.
“Being a veteran here has been really great,” said Keith Manuel, an Army reservist who plans to graduate from the COC nursing program later this month. “You’re able to feel like a priority, and get the support to help you through the way.”
The veterans were recognized by community leaders such as COC Chancellor Dianne Van Hook, Sen. Scott Wilk, R-Santa Clarita, and representatives from the office of Rep. Katie Hill, D-Agua Dulce.
Van Hook made comments celebrating the veterans for the work they’ve put into their education and the commitments they were responsible for while being students.
“Many Americans don’t realize what happens to our veterans when they come home,” Wilk said during his speech at the dinner. “I just want to congratulate you on the success, Life is about lifelong learning… and you’re going to continue to do excellent things.”