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The Bronze Star Featured in National Veterans Summit

Citrus College actors share how the arts impacted their recovery from traumatic war experiences.

Citrus College's acclaimed Veteran’s Program, and college's play The Bronze Star, took center stage at the California Community College Veterans Summit in Redwood City in December.

The two-day conference explored opportunities and programs that serve student veteran, opening with four Citrus College Theatre Department students – two of them actual student veterans – performing a scene from the play, The Bronze Star.

The play, written by Citrus College instructor Dr. Bruce Solheim, recently finished a sold-out run at the college’s Haugh Performing Arts Center. The play, based on a true story of a gay Vietnam veteran’s struggle with depression and an intolerant society, served as a catalyst for a discussion on how the play impacted the actors and the audience members.

The Bronze Star actor Anthony Vidales, a former Marine and student at Citrus College, said the arts had a profound impact on his life.

“The arts saved me,” stated Vidales, a former Marine who is also a photographer.  “Art has been my therapy, and I highly recommend it to veterans who need to express themselves.”

“The actors told the audience what the play meant to them,” said Cherie Brown, Citrus College theater instructor and the play’s producer, in a statement.  “The student veterans’ testimonies were very moving, as they expressed how much theatre arts has helped them work through their combat trauma.”

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