Teaching has been a goal for Herbie Brock and he was able to accomplish that goal after earning 44 credits from Hazard Community & Technical College and graduating with a bachelor’s degree from Berea College in February with high honors
“I have been blessed to have had the opportunity to work with some of the most experienced, motivating and caring professors on the face of the earth,” Brock said. “Both at HCTC and BC, I was able to learn in small, intimate classrooms and build close relationships with my professors.”
Brock, who graduated from the former Whitesburg High School, said he would recommend HCTC to anyone. “Great professors, awesome support staff, staying close to home- those are all factors that made my time there great. It’s affordable, yet just as enriching and educating as a four-year school. It prepared me to succeed at Kentucky’s most selective college, so that speaks to its educational quality. I always tell people, try to get into the smallest school you can. The relationships that you foster with your professors will be invaluable. Unfortunately, at larger schools students are unable to get to know their professors, and their fellow students for that matter. I made some great friends at HCTC because we could all relate. Even though I live three or four hours away, I still keep in touch with my friends from there.”
Now that Brock has a degree in Sociology Education he will be teaching in the Cincinnati Public School System beginning in August. “I have known since I was very young that I wanted to become a teacher. I was motivated by the teachers I interacted with in the elementary school classrooms. I noticed very early on that the great teachers I encountered had a way of making everyone’s day a little brighter. They would encourage the students and help them grow as individuals. It wasn’t long before I realized how important a teacher’s job was.”
Brock fondly remembers the classes he took with English Professor Ron Reed, who in turn fondly remembers seeing Brock progress during the time he was an HCTC student. Professor Reed noted, “Herbie was very willing to enter into the debates in class but I saw another part of him where he would be tireless in helping students who might have missed a class.” Professor Reed is glad to see Brock’s interest in teaching. “If the two of us can hang around long enough, I’d like for him to come back and be my Honors Class teaching partner,” Reed said.
Mike Strickland, history professor, said he has no doubt that Brock will be a wonderful teacher. “He will be very entertaining and keep his students interested in learning,” Strickland said. Professor Strickland said Brock stands out for his excellence, especially in his Philosophy Club where he would always question ideas and concepts. “He enjoyed looking at things from a different perspective, not always going with the status quo.”
Brock said his heart is in eastern Kentucky and he plans to teach in the mountains as soon as his wife has completed her Veterinary Technician’s degree. “We can’t wait to come home and serve the communities that served us,” Brock said.
Brock stressed he has had a lot of help getting to where he is today. He said, “My professors and teachers were a great encouragement, and I guess it took a lot of hard work to make it through HCTC and Berea. But if it were not for the support and encouragement of my wife, Vickie and my mother, Bonnie (Hatton of Pert Creek), I would have never gained the opportunity to attend these institutions and forge the relationships that I did. My wife has funded my entire college education by working 50-hour work-weeks, and for that I am grateful. Here in Cincinnati, I am returning the favor, working fulltime so she can be a full-time student.”
Brock said, “I learned the importance of mentoring and the struggle of the Appalachian people at HCTC. I knew that my mission in life would be to help young people in Appalachia, like myself, just as those great teachers and professors had helped me. Further, as a Social Studies teacher, I would work with students to build citizenship, a crucial factor in growing a positive community. Through the classroom, I hope to help students learn how to create their own understanding of the world around them, its problems and how they will make an impact on them.”
HCTC is now accepting students for summer classes. For more information, call 800-246- 7521, ext. 73311.