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Brock valedictorian earns high school and WC degrees, heads to Marines

If more young folks like Kealey Dent continue to join, the future of America’s armed forces should be in pretty good shape.

The 2020 Brock High School valedictorian—who also has her associate’s degree, thanks to participating in Weatherford College’s dual credit program—is headed to the Marine Corps. She plans to earn a degree in psychology while serving her country and making a career out of military service.

In fact, her work in the dual credit program has allowed her to enter the Marines having already secured a meritorious promotion to private first class.

She is also the first from Brock High School to earn her high school diploma and associate’s degree in the same semester.

“While in the service, I hope to qualify for the counterintelligence sector. However, this path is not one that can be enlisted into, so I will be enlisted into linguistics or aviation electrician,” Dent said. “I do plan to make a career out of the service, remaining in the Marines for 20 years. However, I do have an additional plan to work for the FBI in the behavioral analysis unit.”

She is the first from her family to enter the military.

And, of course, being from Brock, she has a strong history in athletics. She was a four-year varsity volleyball player, helping the Lady Eagles reach the regional tournament in Class 3A her sophomore through senior seasons. She was the top-ranked defensive player in the Fort Worth-Dallas area for the 2019 season, along with a host of other accolades.

She also ran varsity track for two years.

Academically, she competed in persuasive speaking in the University Interscholastic League competition, finishing seventh in the state as a junior. She and her partner, Taylor Ducat, advanced to state in debate her junior year.

“I’ve known Kealey since she was a freshman. It didn’t take long to recognize that she is one of those students who comes along once or twice in a teacher’s career,” said Brock High debate coach and English teacher John White. “There just aren’t enough words in the English language to describe her academic and athletic talent.”

Dent was asked to join the debate team just days before the district tournament. She was given a crash course, after which she and Ducat won the tournament and advanced to the state tournament undefeated. Dent was then named Best Overall Debater.

“As a combat veteran myself, I was never prouder of Kealey than when I learned that out of all the options available to her, she chose to serve her country first upon graduation,” White added.

Along with being a great verbal communicator, Dent also has a knack for the written word.

“Kealey is a wonderful writer,” said Dr. Diann Ainsworth, WC English professor. “She writes amazing poetry, and her essays for my class were engaging and insightful. Kealey’s dedication to her educational goals is inspiring, and I know she will accomplish all her future goals. I appreciated Kealey’s willingness to read and analyze unfamiliar literature and get the most out of her college experiences.”

Dent said she hopes to encourage other students to take advantage of dual credit.

“Alongside my counselor, I have worked to set up entire schedules for students to obtain their associate’s degree before high school is over,” she said. “It’s a great way for students to jumpstart their college careers.”

by Rick Mauch