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WVC Raises Awareness of Veteran Students with Documentary Screening

West Valley College is working to raise awareness of the challenges faced by veteran students by offering a free showing of High Ground, a documentary about 11 wounded soldiers and one Gold Star mother who climb a mountain in the Himalayas.

Presented by WVC’s, Daniel E. Furtado Veterans Resource Center, the film screening begins at 1 p.m. on September 11, 2013, Students, faculty and staff, as well as anyone from off-campus, is invited to attend the free event, which is designed for both veterans and non-veterans.

“We believe this movie will help educate students, faculty and staff about the challenges that veteran students face,” said Bernadette Walker, marketing and communications coordinator for Student Life and the Veterans Resource Center. “Often, war injuries are unseen, but are very real to our veterans. When you watch the movie, you kind of understand a little better about these issues; it provides a glimpse into their lives.”

The film focuses on 11 veterans, who after serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, live with life-altering injuries that are both seen and unseen. High Ground follows them as they train in Colorado, to Nepal and up Mt. Lobouche. In the film, the veterans not only recount their wartime experiences, but also find teamwork, friendship and healing on the journey. Almost all branches of the military are represented in the documentary.

After the showing, the Veterans Resource Center will have on hand a variety of off-campus support services for veterans, including Project HIRED, Wounded Warriors, Goodwill and the San Jose Vet Center. Walker hopes the event not only raises awareness among non-veterans about veteran students, but also raises awareness among veteran students about the many resources available to them.

“There are great support services here on campus,” Walker said. “This campus community really bands together in supporting veterans.”

At the Veterans Resource Center, veteran students can gather, socialize and form relationships with other veterans. The space also is a hub for veteran programming efforts and provides veteran students with access to counseling, veteran-specific orientations, computers, events and the Veterans Club.

About 100 WVC students each semester are veterans. Walker hopes that number increases as more veterans in the community become aware of the support network available on campus.

High Ground was produced by Don Hahn and directed by five-time Mt. Everest climber and three-time Emmy winner Michael Brown. It has shown at several film festivals and was the opener for the Heartland Film Festival.

The event begins at 1 p.m. in the WVC Campus Center/Event Center. Free parking will be available in lot 5. For more information, please visit: www.westvalley.edu/veterans/.