Spring Fling helps Soldiers get educated
May 3, 2012
FORT RUCKER, Ala. (May 3, 2012) -- Colleges from Charleston, S.C., to Troy were in attendance to display what they have to offer to Soldiers and Family members during the Fort Rucker Education Center's Spring Fling April 27.
People gathered outside of the education center where they enjoyed free hotdogs, hamburgers and beverages while they browsed the booths from different colleges to learn about what options could be open to them.
Retanya Strancone, child and youth assistant caregiver for the child development center, said she attended the event to expand her education.
"I already have my art associate's degree and I'm looking to get my bachelor's degree at Baker College because they have exactly what I need as far as the technical background," she said, adding that the event served as a venue to be able to talk with representatives from Baker College and get the information she needed to pursue her goals.
"An event like this is important because it lends a hand to those people that are looking for elevation and not just to be stagnant in their lives," said Strancone. "It helps people move to the next level."
She added that the motivation to better her life and continue her education is to show her children that they can work for goals and achieve them if they try, and the education fair was there to help her along that track.
Rebecca Buckland, military site coordinator for Baker College, said she was there to help people see how they can reach their goals and make them aware that the school's services are all available to them without setting foot in a classroom.
"People can do everything that they need from home," she said. "We offer everything from certifications up through doctoral level degrees."
Quite often in the voluntary education community, Soldiers and their Family members aren't aware of the benefits that are available for them to use, said Jeremy Glasstetter, military site representative and School of Visual Arts coordinator for Baker College, and that's why an event like the Spring Fling is so important.
"Events like this help provide the catalyst that provides [Soldiers and Families] the information they need to be successful in education and a possible transition to life outside the military," he said.
CW4 Ron Smith, Aviation Center Logistics Command, said that he plans to possibly get out of the military in the future and attended the education fair to find out his financial options for his masters program.
"This event brings all the resources into one area and helps answer all the questions that I have for all the different universities," he said.
Although the Spring Fling was useful in educating people about the resources that are available to them off of Fort Rucker, it was also there to let people know what the education center has to offer the Soldiers and Families of the installation, said Sally Markovich, education counselor at the Fort Rucker Education Center.
The education center provides college education from schools like Enterprise State Community College and Troy University, which are both housed within the learning center.
"That's one of the main reasons we had staff members from the learning center spread out across the event," she said. "We wanted to get to know [the Soldiers and Families] and talk to them. We want to have relationships with them so when they talk to our counselors, we know who they are and we know who we are referring them to."
Helen Nichols, director and counselor for the Fort Rucker office of Enterprise State Community College, said that the reason for them being there was to let the community know about the programs that are available to them on post and that they don't have to travel to get their education.
"We can give [people] all their general education classes right here on Fort Rucker," she said. "A lot of people don't realize that the education center is here for them and many Soldiers don't have time to visit main campuses off the installation to get their education. That's why we're here, it's just accessible to them."
If the education center can't provide what Soldiers need, she said, they can point them in the right direction to get them on track.
"We're not trying to sell anyone their future, that implies that we're trying to make money off of people," said Nichols. "What we're doing is providing people with opportunities -- that's what it's really about."