The freshest news and views from the Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District
Friday, November 14, 2014
Barbecue honors Cuyamaca College student veterans
Veterans and other participants in the barbecue
more than eight years in the Navy, James Kenney had his sights on going back to
school to study computer science. It didn’t take long for him to settle on Cuyamaca
and Grossmont colleges.
“I had a friend who told me that
Grossmont and Cuyamaca were more veteran-friendly than any other community
college in San Diego County,” Kenney said. “So I’ve been taking classes at both
of them. I haven’t been disappointed.”
Kenney was among the dozens of
veterans feted Nov. 13 at a free barbecue for veterans and active-duty students
at the Water Conservation Garden at the Cuyamaca College campus. The event was funded
by the El Cajon Elks Lodge and co-hosted by Cuyamaca College.
It was one of several events at both
Cuyamaca and Grossmont colleges during the week of Veterans Day.
“It’s important to honor our
veterans who are students at Cuyamaca College,” said Anthony Zambelli, who is
president of Elks Lodge 1812 in El Cajon and professor emeritus at Cuyamaca
Money for the barbecue came from a
$2,000 Elks National Foundation Freedom Grant, one of scores distributed across
the country to benefit veterans, active-duty personnel and their dependents.
The gathering featured enough food to feed an army, along with what Zambelli
called “veteran students survival kits” – packages containing a flash drive,
school supplies and vouchers for textbooks.
“A lot of these folks are using
computers in the Veteran Services Center at Cuyamaca College, so the flash
drives will come in handy to store their files,” Zambelli said.
U.S. Veterans Magazine recently
ranked Cuyamaca College among the nation’s top veteran-friendly campuses. The
number of veterans and their dependents at the college has climbed to nearly
1,000 since the enactment in 2008 of the Post 9/11 G.I. Bill. About 1,500
veterans and dependents attend Grossmont College, where former Marine Rafael
Navarrete serves as president of the Associated Students.
colleges are included in the 2014 list of military-friendly schools by G.I.
Jobs, a national monthly magazine that focuses on veterans making the
transition to the civilian workforce.
Sean Woodfield, a retired Marine and
Cuyamaca College student transferring to San Diego State University next fall,
said Cuyamaca College’s commitment to veterans involves far more than Veterans
“They do a lot. But probably the
biggest thing is we get preferential treatment when it comes time to register
for our classes,” Woodfield said. “That makes a huge difference.”
The college district’s dedication to
current and former military members fits in with the Benevolent and Protective
Order of Elks’ mission. “Elks have long been at the forefront of serving
veterans and active-duty personnel and their families,” Zambelli said.
Since the Elks National Foundation
was created in 1928, it has contributed more than $384 million towards programs
that support youth, honor veterans and meet needs in areas where Elks live and
The El Cajon Elks Lodge (Lodge 1812)
has long been involved with Cuyamaca College. In June, a $2,000 Elks National
Foundation Gratitude Grant provided the Lodge with funding for transportation
vouchers and backpacks filled with school supplies for scores of former foster
youth taking part in Cuyamaca’s Unlimited Potential, or UP! program.
“Our mission is to connect with the
community, and Cuyamaca College is an important part of the community,”