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Photo submitted by Gus Bahena
Barstow Community College President/Superintendent, Dr. Deborah DiThomas serves pumpkin pie to Spc. Victor Rodriguez, an infantry Soldier and team leader with B Troop, 1st Squadron, 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment, at the “Student Thanksgiving Mixer.” The BCC Associated Student Government hosted the mixer at the college's satellite campus on Fort Irwin on Nov. 7.

BCC hosts mixer for Fort Irwin student soldiers


BARSTOW • Barstow Community College hosted a “Student Thanksgiving Mixer” at the college’s satellite campus located on Fort Irwin last week.

Members of the college’s Associated Student Government held the event for soldiers on the army post, who are enrolled in the BCC satellite campus and served sandwiches, snacks, beverages and pumpkin pie on Nov. 7.

Kenyetta Grayer, ASG president, said it’s important to support and thank soldiers for the struggles they go through.

“We just wanted to give back and say thanks,” Grayer said. “We want to see each other succeed ... No matter what your goal is, we have one (thing in common). That’s success in education.”

Victor Rodriguez, an infantry soldier and team leader with B Troop, 1st Squadron, 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment, is interested in criminal justice and is enrolled in BCC’s satellite campus’ developmental psychology program.

Rodriguez is taking advantage of Desert University, the National Training Center’s commanding general policy for allowing soldiers to take courses, during mission times, with command approval.

“My chain of command is very supportive,” Rodriguez said. “I love school ... It’s a very friendly environment. I come in and everyone is always welcoming me with smiles or handshakes. It’s very friendly.”

Staff Sgt. Cleveland Burns, a career counselor with United States Army Department Activity, plans to graduate in June with a degree in business management.

When Dr. Deborah DiThomas, BCC president/superintendent, came to the college earlier this year, she was interested in the partnership between BCC and the Army post.

According to DiThomas, one of the college’s goals is to provide an opportunity for students to complete an associate’s while serving at the National Training Center.

“We have a real commitment to the soldiers, who come here leaving with a degree, if they don’t already have one,” DiThomas said. “Desert University is such a unique program and such a huge advantage for the soldiers, who are stationed here, that we want to help them make the most of that advantage. It’s a huge commitment for them to make and we want to make sure that we help the soldiers take advantage of it.”

“We have a more comprehensive approach to our education, a two-year plan, because the soldiers are usually here two to three years. We want them to be able to complete their degree while they’re here and we want to offer courses in a sequence, so they can do that.”

— Fort Irwin spokesman Gus Bahena contributed to this report.

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