August 24, 2023
Story and photos by Joe Vinduska
Maddie and Mason Gonzales have been navigating life as husband and wife for six years, so when they decided to work on their education, it’s no surprise they embarked on that journey in tandem as well via Barton Community College at Fort Riley.
“We had an infant at home and another baby on the way, and we decided we needed a better plan for our family and future,” Mason said.
Both Maddie and Mason wish to pursue their education all the way to a master’s degree. Mason wants to be a game developer, and Maddie wants to go into healthcare. The pair said Barton knows how to work with soldiers and their families.
“We have a very unpredictable schedule,” Maddie said. “Quite a few times, my husband was called away for service, and I was left with the children. Our instructors worked with us to the best of their ability. We were able to survive the hard times because Barton could accommodate our schedules.”
Mason agreed that without Barton's flexibility, pursuing an education wouldn’t have been possible.
“Barton allowed me to complete my courses with a difficult schedule,” he said. “Even when I had to go on rotation, into the field, and permanent change of station, I was able to keep up and complete my schoolwork. I’m very thankful for how familiar Barton is with military processes and procedures because they know how to be flexible in the right ways for their students.”
The couple utilized Barton’s LSEC program which allows active-duty Soldiers and their dependents, as well as Department of Defense employees, to take classes on scholarship at no cost and said the program’s design helped make their educational dreams a reality.
“It allowed me and my wife to finish our associate degrees within a year,” he said, “Also, our courses will easily transfer to a university so we can continue our education. We are also setting a good example for our kids,” Mason said.
“Barton has allowed my husband and I to take one very large step towards achieving our big goals,” Maddie said. “What we accomplished at Barton showed us how much more we are capable of. It set our hearts on fire for education.”
Visit FR.bartonccc.edu for more information about Barton’s many programs and services to the public and Soldiers at its Fort Riley and Grandview Plaza campuses.