Brock Bourek doesn't let academic struggles stop him from pursuing his goals.
"I have an eye-tracking problem," he explains. "It takes a lot longer to complete work. I am an A-/B+ student who works hard to maintain my good grades."
Brock's mother, a single parent, teaches music and shares that passion – along with her love for the church – with her son.
"I was very active in my church groups (Methodist Youth Talent Troupe, Senior High Katalyst Youth Group, improv) and representing the youth on the worship committee," Brock says. At school, he participated in student council, intramurals, speech, theater, band and choirs. Community activities included dance, 4-H Club, bowling league and theater.
Brock and his mother are members of First United Methodist Church in Columbus, Nebraska.
"The church has been an integral part of my life and how I choose to live – to be kind, friendly, nonjudgmental, open-minded and caring," he says. He credits his decision to minor in religious studies to "the positive influences of the Methodist faith and how I want to spread my knowledge and love of God to others."
Thanks to a Gift of Hope Scholarship, Brock is majoring art administration and theater at Morningside College, Sioux City, Iowa, Brock attends Grace United Methodist Church near the campus.
Going to a private United Methodist college, Brock says, has strengthened his insight and knowledge about his denomination. "This college," he asserts, "has had a positive impact on my present and my future."
College "broadens our horizons and gives us connections beyond the regular classroom setting," Brock adds. Through a caring professor, Brock secured an internship. He worked at a community theater, learning to build a stage, a trap door and other stage craft with professional workers.
Brock holds firmly to his Christian upbringing and values.
"Whenever I do something theatrically," he says, "I reflect upon whether God would approve or disapprove of the roles and lines I would have to say." Vowing never to use God's name in vain, even if a script calls for it, Brock has faced challenges.
"I would not give up my morals," Brock says.
This determined young man hopes eventually to become a youth director for a United Methodist congregation. Meanwhile, he sharpens his leadership skills in a variety of ways.
"I am a member of Sinfonia (Phi Mu Alpha) fraternity and a member of the Greek council, founded the all-men's a cappella ensemble Brockapella (funded by student government) and was dance captain for the musical opera 'Pirates of Penzance.'" He is also a dorm resident advisor.
Brock plans to reach out to children and senior adults through Brockapella performances. "Sinfonia's goal," he says, "is to spread music throughout America. I am hoping to make a difference in others' lives with the positive effects of music and drama."
Another of Brock's dreams is to operate a dinner theater. In everything, he says, his Christian faith will be "the core of my life decisions."
Brock remains grateful for his church's investment in his future.
"Without this support," he says, "students like me would not have the financial opportunity to attend a private (United Methodist) college. There are many teens like me unable to afford college independently."
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Barbara Dunlap-Berg, UMCom retiree, freelance writer and editor
One of six churchwide Special Sundays with offerings of The United Methodist Church, United Methodist Student Day calls the church to support students as they prepare for life in uniting faith with knowledge. The special offering provides scholarships for qualified United Methodist applicants.
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