Meet Student Veteran of the Quarter: Branden Paquette!

  • Joey Upper

The nominations for Student Veteran of Quarter 1 – 2021 concluded, and the results are in! 

The Student Recognition Committee gathered to review and determine the best candidate who represented SDI’s Mission Statement and exemplified any of the nominated categories for the Student Veteran of the Quarter award. 

It is with great excitement we would like to congratulate Brenden Paquette, a Marine Corps veteran who recently graduated from the Advanced Gunsmithing Certificate program in April of 2021!  A fellow student nominated Brenden for his peer mentorship. The student stated, “Brenden has gone above and beyond in both his studies and stance in peer mentorship. Brenden’s commitment to academic excellence has a way that encourages others, in our peer study group, to complete their coursework within the prescribed parameters.”

Brenden’s experience in the Marine Corps fueled his curiosity about firearms and their functionality after handling heavy and light firearms such as the M2 .50 cal, the M240B, and the M16A4. This curiosity created the determination to reach his goal of becoming a gunsmith. This can also explain Brenden’s peer mentorship style: supporting and helping his classmates by not just giving them the answers to their questions, but rather “[providing] resources, literature, and [Paquette] has even given his own personal experiences as examples to steer others in the right direction.”

As part of the Veteran of the Quarter recognition, we asked Brenden what his first experience with a firearm was and what turned it into a passion. He believes that his first experience was with his grandfather, who let him help clean his shotgun after a pheasant hunt. Brenden loved taking the shotgun apart and putting it back together. His interest then moved into his grandfather’s Remington 700 and learning to shoot his dad’s old Sears .22 rifle to start. He recalled, “I would beg him to let me take them out and clean them every week.” For Brenden, this really opened his eyes to the world of firearms and turned them into a passion!

We asked Brenden what advice he would give to fellow students and service members who are looking to accomplish their goals – any standing words of wisdom to leave behind. He responded: 

“Don’t give up! I debated for months on going to SDI, constantly thinking if it was worth pursuing. After I enrolled and started my first classes, I knew it was worth it, and I was so glad I enrolled. This has opened up so many pathways for me and has helped me figure out what I want to do in the firearms industry and has given me the tools to succeed.”

Let’s come together to celebrate and congratulate Brenden’s recognition and accomplishment!  While SDI is thrilled to be a part of your journey and success, we thank YOU, Brenden, for all the support, guidance, and service you have provided and continue to provide to our students and community! 

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