Veteran students help to create the USF community

The Office of Veteran Success is one of the key factors in the academic development of veteran students at USF.

While Veterans Day brings elementary schoolers red, white and blue colored cupcakes, older university students cannot forget to take time during their day to honor those who have served the U.S. Veterans’ stories must be heard. 

The transition from being in service to being in school took longer for some. Anthony Beauchamp, 48, was in the Navy and is now a senior majoring in biomedical science.

“There was a 12 year gap between the time I got out and the time I started school,” Beauchamp said. “I went into the Navy specifically for physical therapy and couldn’t get it while I was in. 

“So I came out and I was doing rehabilitative exercise as a personal trainer. I was making good money with that, but when the economy shifted and the personal training industry changed, I decided to go back to pursuing physical therapy. And that’s what I’m doing right now.”

While some veterans wait a bit before jumping back into school, some manage to find the time to live both lives simultaneously. Deighton Saint-Cyr, 22, is currently in the Army National Guard and is a junior majoring in fine arts photography.

“It’s all about finding the right time to do everything: having drill on the weekends, or having to report in for hurricane duty, and having to balance school and homework,” Saint-Cyr said. “It can be a bit of a struggle, but I feel like the Army has prepared me to multitask.”

The USF Office of Veteran Success works to facilitate veterans’ re-entry into a school setting, or keep veterans who take part in both afloat. In 2016, the Military Times named USF the top college in the nation for veterans.

“The Office of Veteran Success is the glue that holds us together and makes everything work for veterans on campus,” Beauchamp said.

Saint-Cyr has also reaped the benefits from the Office of Veterans Success.

“The Office of Veterans Success has definitely been very helpful,” Saint-Cyr said. “They have the Veterans Success program, and the veteran workshops. They have veteran job search classes, which has definitely been helpful in giving us information.”

To celebrate Veterans Day, Saint-Cyr plans to represent his country and his school. 

“I’m currently taking part in the USF Celebration Gala, representing the army branch,” Saint-Cyr said. “So that’s one thing I’m going to do. Essentially, I just want to honor my fellow veterans.”

For students with parents in service, Veterans Day celebrations are a family-centered affair. Kayla Figueroa, 19, a sophomore majoring in world languages and cultures, will be celebrating Saturday in honor of her father. 

“My dad was in the Air Force for 22 years,” Figueroa said. “He moved around a lot but that gave me a chance to travel to different places that not many people could. This summer I got the chance to visit him in Guam which was a really cool experience. I’m celebrating Veterans Day with him at a BBQ at Anna Maria beach with my whole family.”