By Mason Poepperling / Staff writer

Starting or continuing college after serving in the military can be a difficult process.

Research from the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs indicates that veterans may find the logistical challenges of switching from the military to college to be overwhelming. These feelings of immense confusion are present on every college campus, and Hutchinson Community College is no different. 

But what if there was a place where veterans on campus could find the resources necessary to navigate the tumultuous landscape that is college life?

Once upon a time, there was a place like that at HutchCC and it’s trying to make a comeback – The Dragon Warriors, an organization dedicated to supporting campus veterans on their college journey. 

Michael Casquino, a second-year student who served in the U.S. Army for seven years, knows first hand what it’s like to move from military service to college. His goal with Dragon Warriors was to provide veterans with vital resources to get through the college experience.

“When we talked about the Dragon Warriors and talked about getting it organized, it was so we could network and make our program stronger and help our veterans who are dependent on school and help them not fall into the dropout statistic,” Casquino said.

This was about two or three years ago when the organization was created. But, like a lot, COVID-19 threw a wrench into the plans for Dragon Warriors. However, it may not be over yet for the Dragon Warriors. Talks have already started about rejuvenating the organization and, once again, offering networking opportunities for veterans who need them the most. 

Casquino understands the challenges veterans on campus face, which add to the importance of the opportunities the Dragon Warriors organization can bring. 

“You got all the stressors that are already happening and as a veteran I would like it to be cut and dry and it’s not like that,” Casquino said. “Especially in the classes that I’ve got now we take it step by step. For some of us veterans that’s probably the most difficult process where it’s so slow, but I do understand that it’s got to be that way, you gotta get it ingrained in your brain.”

For many veterans who are going through the college experience, it may seem like no one else understands the struggle you go through every day. But it’s important to realize that every day, there are resources that are available and being created every day to help you get through it. For any veteran attending HutchCC, it’s never too late to ask and search for help in any way possible. Dragon Warriors is one avenue.

Visits: 174

Share this story: