Christopher Henry, class of 2013
Bachelor of Arts in history with an emphasis in U.S. and
History major Chris Henry, class of 2013, knows who he is, where
he's from and who he wants to be. Born and raised in the tiny
community of McClearly, Washington, Chris attended the only
available high school, in the neighboring town of Elma. At the age
of 18, he joined the Marine Corps where he was certified as an
aircraft mechanic and began a four-year tour of duty that found him
stationed in Iraq, Korea, Japan, and eventually Hawaii. Working on
CH53 and UH60 helicopters until the end of his enlistment, Chris
decided that he wanted out of a field where "my hands were being
destroyed every day."
A competitive weight-lifter who competes in strong man
competitions and is used to flipping 900 lb. tires, Chris is no
stranger to what is required to realize a goal. "My time in the
Marine Corps prepared me to attend college successfully," Chris
says, and successfully attend he has. In spite of a two-semester
hiatus in spring of 2012 - when Chris took a fulltime position
as an aircraft mechanic at Fort Lewis to continue funding his
education - he is set to graduate this spring with a Bachelor of
Arts in history with an emphasis in U.S. and labor history.
Chris found Saint Martin's University very welcoming.
"Everyone is helpful," he says. "My entire experience has been
of people willing to bend over backwards." With no college
experience, Chris didn't know what to expect, but the culture at
Saint Martin's made the transition from military life to student
life very easy. "Everyone in the history department was very
knowledgeable, professional and generous with their time," says
Chris. "Dr. Casillas, Dr. Goings, Dr. Barnes, and Dr. Snider,
even though he is actually political science, have all been
extremely insightful and helped guide me and many others through
the course of our studies."
Particularly rewarding were Chris' experiences with Br.
Boniface Lazzari, O.S.B. One of Saint Martin's resident monks
and a professor of world languages, Br. Boniface counseled Chris
while Chris was working as a Spanish and history tutor at Saint
Martin's Learning and Writing Center. Chris took many classes
with Br. Boniface and would love to see Saint Martin's offer a
major or minor in Spanish. "Br. Boniface does a great job - with
only one of him!" says Chris.
Chris wants to be a history teacher. After graduation he
plans to apply to the Saint Martin's Education program and
possibly the STAR program, and move on to teach. Ideally, Chris
wants to teach history to low-income students in Grays Harbor,
where his roots are. He has a passion for positively affecting
the lives of children in low-income communities. "I'm from a
low-income area," he says. "Grays Harbor used to be on top with
the timber industry, but now the timber industry is going away.
In this economy people are getting left behind, children get
left behind. I want to help fill that gap. I have an affinity
for the area and low-income communities because that's what I
Chris considers it his responsibility to let his students
know "that they are just as smart, just as capable, and deserve
just as much as people they see as 'in charge.'" Because of who
he is and where he is from, Chris Henry is making it his mission
to prepare low-income children for a life of meaning by
instilling in them both higher self-worth and the ability to
assert their equality.
Chris lives with his wife and two daughters in Elma,