Overcoming Personal Obstacles, RCBC Veteran Student Set to Graduate in December
Friday, Nov 10, 2023

As a child, Bret Weeden never considered joining the military or moving to New Jersey. However, when he learned that his family was about to be evicted from their home in Philadelphia, he knew he had to change and start anew.

Shortly after, Weeden relocated to New Jersey and resided with his sister in search of a fresh start for his upcoming phase in life. He aimed to forget all the poor choices and hardships he had faced due to lack of guidance from his family and was keen on living in a safer locality than the Kensington area of Philadelphia.

After turning 21, he enrolled in the United States Navy and was stationed in Ventura, California. Serving in the military allowed him to explore the vast differences in cultures throughout the United States. During his five years of active duty, he was deployed to various locations, but his favorite was Japan.

He shared, “Even though you work crazy hours, it’s still such a beautiful place to explore and connect with the people around you.” 

Weeden was passionate about fitness and nutrition even before he joined the military. He was so dedicated to this field that he became one of the Commanding Fitness Leaders in the Navy. As his passion for fitness grew stronger, he became interested in expanding his knowledge through education.

After extensive research, Weeden was determined to attend RCBC, and it was an excellent decision. Throughout his time at school, he confidently established long-lasting connections with staff members (David Reeves and Mike Gentry) dedicated to providing unwavering support to military-connected and veteran students. In addition to these staff members, he raved about the faculty members (Assistant Professor Malik Abdul-Jabbaar and Instructor Mary Langley) who took an interest in his journey after RCBC. 

"They were just always there to vent to or provide help when I needed it," Weeden comments. "It truly meant a lot that they wanted to point me in the right direction."  

His humble beginnings have only made him more resilient, and he's proud to be the first in his family to attend college and earn a degree. He's overcome numerous obstacles to become a true inspiration to his siblings, nieces, and nephews, showing them that with determination and hard work, anything is possible. Weeden knows his success proves he can achieve anything he wants.

He added, “If I didn’t go through what I had gone through, my life wouldn’t pan out the way it is, and I wouldn’t be in this position I am today.”

Bret Weeden expects to graduate with his associate degree during the Winter Commencement 2023. He is determined to transfer to a school that can propel him further to achieve his dream of working as a physical therapist for one of the sports teams in Philadelphia.