A Student Veteran’s Journey

Nelson-1 flatten A Student Veteran Struggles to Fit Into Civilian Life and Emerges as Student Leader

Attired in a t-shirt, cargo shorts and flip flops, 23-year-old Nelson Algarin looks like a typical college student. His confident smile and clean-cut good looks belie his troubled past as a former Marine struggling with personal demons. As he tells his story, he strokes the dog tags around his neck, those of a fallen comrade.

Algarin’s return from Afghanistan began promisingly with a heartwarming welcome home and the excitement of returning to civilian life. Unfortunately, things began to unravel quickly. He soon found himself caught between living in the present and not being able to let go of the memories of the past. These memories included being shot in the back and losing two of his closest friends to war. In addition, he found he had difficulty relating to family and friends who seemed to view him differently.

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An On-Campus Oasis for Tunxis Veterans

Tunxis Veterans Oasis Logo 2014The transition from serving in a combat zone back into civilian life is filled with challenges.  Fortunately, for returning servicemen and women attending Tunxis, the Veterans’ OASIS (Operation Academic Support for Incoming Service Members) helps with that transition by serving as an on-campus refuge. There, students can hang out, do their homework and make connections with other students who also face the challenge of transitioning back to civilian life.

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Scholarship Honors the Life of Inspiring 78-Year-Old Graduate

ficksIn a hospital room packed with family and friends, 78-year old Peggy Ficks achieved her lifelong goal of graduating from college.

Ficks was supposed to walk with her classmates at the Tunxis Community College Commencement ceremony but a terminal illness and hospitalization derailed that plan. Shortly after learning of the situation, Tunxis President Cathryn L. Addy and Dean of Students Kirk Peters decided to bring graduation to her.  With “Pomp and Circumstance” playing on a cell phone, a fully robed Addy and Peters marched down the hall of the hospital wing to Peggy’s hospital room. A private graduation followed and she earned her associate degree in general studies. Says her daughter Laura Ficks, “That degree made our mother’s life complete. It was the last thing she wanted before she died. We will never be able to find words to describe the gift that Dr. Addy and Dr. Peters gave our mother. We will be forever grateful.”

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$57,000 in Scholarships Awarded to Outstanding Students

tunxis foundation featured image

“After spending all year raising money, this is the night we get to give a bunch of it away to students looking to make a better life for themselves.”

The 32nd Student Achievement Recognition Ceremony, held in Founders Hall on May 21, cast a spotlight on star students whose accomplishments merited special recognition. Amidst applause, students walked to the podium to receive their awards as faculty, staff and family members looked on proudly. The ceremony marked the culmination of hard work and dedication on the part of the students, many of whom face obstacles to their studies.  President Cathryn L. Addy remarked, Tonight shows that for Tunxis students, the journey is as important as the destination.”

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