FORT RILEY — Barton Community College graduated 125 students through its Fort Riley campus Thursday afternoon, Dec. 12, many of whom were active duty military or soldiers’ immediate family.
For these hard-working souls, the nature of their lifestyles made pursuing an education a significant challenge.
Despite his many responsibilities and time commitments as a father of two, a husband and a soldier for 13-years, Staff Sergeant Daniel Lewandowski graduated Thursday afternoon with an Associate Degree in General Studies from Barton Community College.
Balancing his role as a full-time student in an already complex schedule was manageable in large part thanks to BARTonline’s flexibility and the convenient class times at Barton’s Fort Riley campus.
“The BARTonline classes offer so much more flexibility. So if I have a family event or one of the kids gets sick or I have to work an all-nighter, I still have the time to keep up with my school work,” he said. “It helps keep everything running smoothly when I don’t have to make it to class every day and I can just log in when I have time, and get my work done.”
He said the main thing that worried him about going back to school, is that he had never taken it seriously before. He left high school with a 2.2 GPA.
“I was in delayed entry when I was a junior in high school, so I didn’t care about GPA back then,” he said. “Getting back into school was an unknown and was kind of nerve-racking. I was scared. But, it’s easier to just jump into it and get it done. Otherwise I’d sit there and say, ‘I wish I had.’”
Daniel plans to pursue a bachelor’s degree and eventually a master’s degree, both in psychology. His hope is to serve as a therapist to soldiers with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, anger management issues and other social or emotional problems.
“I’ve been there, and I think I can help,” he said.
Brigadier General Christopher J. Ghika (UK), Deputy Commanding General of Readiness at the First Infantry Division and Fort Riley, addressed the group Thursday, with praise for what they’ve accomplished. He said it’s a good time to pause and look at where they have been and where they are now, but the next step is more important.
“If you graduate, and then stop learning, you are uneducated,” he said. “Winston Churchill once said, ‘The most important thing about education is appetite.’”