– Herbie Browne
Motives and Thoughts
I am humbled to be in front of you all to share my story. A story deeply rooted into Tunxis Community College and I am very grateful to the Tunxis Community College Foundation for not only giving me the scholarship to advance my education but for also allowing me to be here to speak.
In 1970, Sophia Naaman-Browne and a few others founded Tunxis Community College. Her vision of this educational institution was phenomenal. Tunxis provides anyone with the ability to enhance or even change their career as long as they are willing to work. Knowing that my great—grandmother had a part in the creation of this institution gives me a much deeper appreciation and connection. She understood the importance of an education. In fact, the Hartford Courant said, “She was the first African American woman to sit on the Board of Education.”
Even though I was never able to meet Sophia, I believe that we share a common philosophy. AN EDUCATED MIND IS A FREE MIND. This philosophy has been pivotal in my perception of the world. I used to think that an educated person knew math, English, history, and science and that was all that was needed to be successful. Until I read a story about Henry Ford in a book called Think and Grow Rich.
“Due to his lack of schooling, Mr. Ford was labeled an ignorant pacifist by a Chicago newspaper. Mr. Ford objected to these claims and sued the paper for smearing his name. He went to trial and as a justification; the attorneys put Mr. Ford on the witness stand to prove that despite his considerable specialized knowledge pertaining to the manufacture of automobiles, he was, in fact ignorant. Mr. Ford was piled with questions such as: “Who is Benedict Arnold?” “How many soldiers did the British send to America to put down the rebellion of 1776?” Mr. Ford eventually became tired of these questions so he pointed at the attorney asking these questions and said,” If I should really WANT to answer the foolish questions you have just asked or any of the other questions you have been asking me. Let me remind you that I have a row of electric push buttons on my desk, and by pushing the right button I can summon to my aid men who can answer ANY question I desire to ask concerning the business to which I am devoting most of my efforts. Now tell me, WHY I should clutter up my mind with general knowledge, for the purpose of being able to answer questions, when I have men around me who can supply any knowledge I require…”
The Court went silent and everyone realized that Mr. Ford was a man of education. Any man is educated who knows where to get knowledge when he needs it. It is not important to try to know everything because no one will ever be able to know everything. Specialized knowledge is why people go on to get higher degrees in education. Tunxis is a stepping stone for students to dive into a specialized career if they choose to.
Unfortunately, life gets in the way and some students, like me, acquire debts that hinder their progress. It is up to the person to decide if that is going to stop them. Nietzsche said,” A person who has a why can bear almost any how” That’s what I have. My why is the reason I wake up every day ready to work harder than I did the day before. My why is what drives me to living a better life. Most people claim to have a why but stop working when they get tired. They become comfortable and begin to accept what life has given. The reason I work so hard is because I AM tired.
- I am tired of seeing my mom work over 60 hours a week and still struggle with her bills
- I’m tired of my dad worrying about the cost of his heart medicine.
- I’m tired of Money being an obstacle between where I am and where I want to be.
And I understand that in order to change my outcome, I must change my thoughts. It is all about my mindset and thanks to a few mentors I met along the way; I was able to develop a philosophy that drives me to want to succeed.
Everyone, no matter what age, social class, race or religion has their own personal mountains they must either conquer or be defeated. The key to climbing the mountain is to develop resolve. Resolve says “I Will”, two of the most powerful words in the English language.
Benjamin Disraeli, the great British statesman, once said, “Nothing can resist a human will that will stake even its existence on the extent of its purpose.” In other words, when someone resolves to “do or die,” nothing can stop him.
The mountain climber says, “I will climb the mountain. They’ve told me it’s too high, it’s too far, it’s too steep, it’s too rocky, it’s too difficult. But it’s my mountain. I will climb it. You’ll soon see me waving from the top or dead on the side, because unless I reach the peak, I’m not coming back.”
There is something powerful about someone willing to stake their life on a claim that they will succeed. In a temporary world where change is all around us and death breathes its quiet wind throughout the land taking as many lives it can, people become afraid to even go out and experience life.
So in closing I want to once again thank the Tunxis Community College Foundation for providing the funds to help me to continue my education, it is very important to my family and me. Foundations like this one are very important because any life is significant. You just never know what potential could be unlocked when a person does not have to stress about how they can afford to pay for school. Foundations are built by the support of self-sacrificing people like you who care for others success. It is leaders like yourselves who keep this country great and pave the way for future leaders to follow in your footsteps. So as a recipient of this scholarship, I want to say thank you for your support and please continue supporting this great foundation so another life can be touched as well.