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Military Family Fun Day is Another Way Dallas College Supports Veterans

When Irma Haylock-Awkard looked into colleges to finish her associate degree, it didn’t take her long to choose Dallas College.


“The resources they provide military members really drew me here,” she said. “I’ve known a lot of other veterans who came here and enjoyed it.”

Yes, Dallas College is among the most veteran-friendly colleges in the country. In fact, Military Friendly recently gave Dallas College the top designation of “Gold” for its work with the veteran community.

It’s only getting better, too, as Dallas College continues to support veteran initiatives.

Later this month, in honor of April being the Month of the Military Child, the college is hosting its first Military Family Fun Day on Saturday, April 22 at the Eastfield Campus. The event, which runs from noon-4 p.m., will feature food, music, fun and more, and is open to the public. It’s the perfect opportunity to interact with veteran employees and students such as Haylock-Awkard. After all, Dallas College is home to 2,932 veteran students.

Those interested in attending can register online for this free event. As Haylock-Awkard said, you won’t be disappointed spending the day with those who served.

“Military members know how to have a good time!” said Haylock-Awkard, who is the mother of two military children.

“This event is also a good opportunity to network with military members, and maybe even get some questions answered about the military. There’re definitely opportunities out there that would help current students with their loans and things like that.”

Called To Serve


That’s the event that motivated Haylock-Awkard to join the military.

“I was in middle school,” she said. “After that, I always knew I wanted to join to make a difference.”

Haylock-Awkard, who is a first-generation American as her parents immigrated from Honduras and Mexico, joined the Junior ROTC in high school, and enlisted into the Navy shortly after graduating in 2007. She spent five years in the Navy, joining as an aviation ordnanceman. She was stationed in Guam, San Diego and Great Lakes, Illinois, during her service.

Haylock-Awkard has fond memories of all three bases. She was part of a smaller unit in Guam, which made transitioning to the military lifestyle easier.

“We had a much closer, tight-knit family environment,” she said. “At the time, I was 18 and always felt welcomed there and safe there.”

In San Diego, Haylock-Awkard and her wife, who is in the Army Reserve, had their two children and appreciated being in a strong military community during the infant and toddler days.

“You can turn to anyone in your neighborhood, and they’ll help and be there for you. Everyone knows what you’re going through, especially if someone is on deployment,” she said. “They had a lot of resources.”

Finally, outside of the snow and blizzards, Great Lakes provided the most rewarding career work. Haylock-Awkard trained newly enlisted sailors.

“Seeing them transition from civilian to sailor to educated sailor was really cool,” she said. “I’m still friends on Facebook with a lot of them and it’s awesome to see them move up and have really successful careers in the military.”

Serving as a mentor is part of the reason Haylock-Awkard returned to school. She’d like to continue teaching the next generation by becoming a Latin American studies professor one day.

Milestone Moment

Haylock-Awkard will become a first-generation college graduate next month. It’s a milestone for her family, and she has plans to continue on. She’ll start working on her bachelor’s degree at the University of Texas at Dallas next semester with plans to eventually earn a master’s degree.

“I want to be an example for my children that education is important, whether it’s college or a trade,” she said. “Accomplishing and finishing what you started is important. For me, it’s definitely a beginning because I want to at least get a master’s degree.”

That journey wouldn’t have started without Dallas College and its commitment to veterans.

Haylock-Awkard had nothing but good things to say about her experience with the college. She enjoyed developing relationships with the military-connected services office on her home campus at Eastfield. And she loved the course setup with eight-week offerings.

“For us coming out of the military, eight weeks is perfect because we work faster,” she said. “We’re used to our training being fast in the military. If it’s in eight-week increments, it works so much better for us.”

Don’t worry, either. Haylock-Awkard will continue spreading the word about Dallas College to veterans and non-veterans alike. It’s the best option to start your higher education journey.

“I’d definitely recommend Dallas College to other military members and just the public in general,” she said. “Dallas College is very accommodating. They have a wide range of classes that should fit anybody’s interest.”

Military Family Fun Day

Military Family Fun Day
Eastfield Campus, Building G Parking Lot
Saturday, April 22
Noon-4 p.m.

Register to attend.

Community welcome. Military affiliation is not required.

Please consider bringing nonperishable food items for our food pantry or donating to support the military-connected students at Dallas College.

This story and others like it can be found in the Student Newsletter. Check your Dallas College email to see the latest edition.

Published inWhy Dallas College?