First OBW Class Completes Their Mission!

Most of the military veterans in this year’s Odyssey Beyond Wars class never got to attend their high school commencement, so the graduation celebration of the first OBW was a particularly special occasion, marked by laughter, some tears, and overwhelming feelings of accomplishment.

Odyssey Beyond Wars students each delivered powerful 5-minute stories of overcoming addiction, breaking out of comfort zones, or beating staggering odds to experience personal triumph and growth.

A packed room helped the graduates celebrate. Attendees included students’ family and friends, Odyssey staff, and representatives from the veteran community including Madison College Veterans Resource Services program Associate Director Sam Moen and UW-Madison MIA Recovery and Identification Project Director Charles Konsitzke, as well as Division of Continuing Studies Dean Jeffrey Russell and Moth storytellers who helped students develop and deliver the 5-minute stories that were their graduation speeches. 

Additional class guests and partners who were instrumental in the program’s first-year success include:

  • Doug Bradley, co-author, We’ve Gotta Get Out of This Place
  • Dr. Will Brockliss, Dept. of Classical Studies, UW-Madison
  • James DeVita, American Players Theater
  • Brendon Panke, Mel Hamond, and Scott Schultz – storytelling workshop
  • Dr. Gene Phillips, Prof. Emeritus, Dept. of Art History, UW-Madison
  • Yvette Pino, The Veteran Print Project
  • Sarah Marty and Four Seasons Theater (“All is Calm” and “The Hello Girls”)
  • Joe Rasmussen, Director of UW-Madison Veteran Services
  • Kevin Ryan, Team Rubicon

OBW student TC Lomax said the course “gave us the opportunity to discover what is in each one of us: freedom to express thoughts, feelings, emotions and bringing to the surface things some of us didn’t understand or didn’t even think we were capable of! We went from ‘Odyssey Beyond Wars’ to ‘Odyssey Beyond Ourselves!’”

View photos from this year’s graduation celebration below.

OBW Graduation Photo Gallery