After many hours of hard work and dedication, more than 90 members of the Cherry Point community graduated from various colleges during a ceremony at the air station theater recently.
“I’m a single mom with two kids, so it’s a balance,” said Stephanie Alexis, a corporal in the Marine Corps Reserves. “Going to school is almost as much work as having a newborn to take care of. You’re tired all the time and trying to make sure all your work gets done.”
Though getting an education takes a lot of hard work, the Marine Corps has tools in place to help along the way. Tuition assistance up to a certain amount can pay for classes, the GI bill can pay for veteran’s classes, and internet for deployed service members can help get a jump start on classes.
“As active duty, I had tuition assistance,” said Alexis. “As a veteran, I have the Post 9/11 GI Bill, which pays for my school for me without a cap, so I go to school all year round. They also pay for me to go to school, which is an awesome benefit for anyone who doesn’t have a job or is going to school full time and doesn’t have time for a full time job. They also pay for books with a $1,000 stipend per year.”
Besides gaining knowledge for one’s own sake, college classes can help Marines achieve life goals and further career options if the unexpected were to happen. It is up to that individual to seek their education.
“I’m going to get a master’s in mental health counseling,” said Sergio L. Jimenez, a former sergeant that was medically separated when he lost hearing in one ear. “When I heard that the military would be paying for it, I decided to take full advantage of that. I completely lost my hearing in one of my ears, but because I already had some education, I had something to fall back on. After I complete the education, I want to work with children who have mental disabilities.”