I Owe Everything to RVC

Posted on May 13, 2015


Earlier this year we received a wonderful handwritten note in the mail from an RVC alum who just wanted to let us know how much his time at Rock Valley College has influenced and changed his life . Below you will find his letter transcribed.

I read. I read quite a bit. Two to three newspapers a day. Two to three magazines a week. Maybe a book each month, but I’m always starting a new one before the old one is finished.

I shudder to think how my life would have turned out without Rock Valley College.

And I credit this love of reading, this thirst for being smarter than I was the day before to my two years at Rock Valley College.

The realization of how critically instrumental my time at RVC was to the person I have become occurred to me after I read the OpEd in the New York Times written by Mr. Tom Hanks. I couldn’t help but share his same sentiment towards his junior college experience.

Hayes in action at Westlane Middle School.

Hayes in action at Westlane Middle School.

I had gone to Iowa State in 1989-1990 as a 17-year old freshman. What a mistake. I wasn’t ready emotionally or physically. The rigor. The freedom. The pace. The distance from friends and family. I came home with an ego in check and a very sad disposition. I was one of those who mocked the idea of “Mulford University.” Now I would need it to put me in my place.

The list of RVC professors who still roll through my mind include Beret, Simon, Culhane, Rittenhouse, Wilbur Johnson, Tony Alexander, Caskey, Kearney, Prashar, Harcharik, Sicotte, Ohelke, Youngblood, Gavigan, Armato, and Koenig.

These folks lit a fire that still burns.

I use Time Magazine like a textbook in my class. I teach American Government in ways that would make the RVC department proud.

The place [Rock Valley College] allowed me to break from my divorcing parents and work close to full time at Octopus Car Wash. The place was where I first tasted success after high school. The place… I owe it everything.

I shudder to think how my life would have turned out without Rock Valley College.

Brian J. Hayes

Brian Hayes is an eighth grade Humanities teacher at Westlane Middle School in Indianapolis, Indiana. He has been teaching for 15 years.

Has Rock Valley College touched your life? We want to hear your stories and share them as part of our year-long 50th anniversary celebration. Share your story with us and yours could be the next one featured on our blog!

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