Bryan J. Hurdle grew up in Chesapeake, but spent much of his time in the Berkley section of Norfolk, conscious of the drug dealing and gunfire outside his front door.
“My great aunt took care of me and kept the home free from bad influences,” said Hurdle, 34, today a student at Tidewater Community College.
After spending 17 years doing odd jobs at the shipyard and in construction, “The light bulb went on,” said Hurdle, who earned his GED in 2013. “I was going through the motions, but I wanted more. I’m the kind of person who needs to shake and bake.”
Hurdle, recipient of the 2015 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Scholarship Award, is working toward an Associate of Science in Social Sciences. He is vocal in his disdain for the media’s portrayal of race relations and what’s acceptable in African-American culture.
“I’m waging a war of sorts against the media who are promoting such a negative outlook and lifestyle for our community and world,” Hurdle said. “Martin Luther King Jr. was fighting for our freedom. Fast forward and we are fighting for freedom away from a culture that accepts average, accepts failures, accepts something bad and calls it a cultural thing.”
A man of faith, Hurdle said, “We’re going to have to heal one person at a time. If you want a better life, you have to focus on better things. You may have to cut off the radio and reality TV to really see positive change.”
Hurdle uses his service platforms to spread his message. He serves as vice president of the Norfolk Campus Student Government Association, chair of the Inter-Club Council, lead mentor for First Year Success, member of the Student Success Committee and is part of the Transfer Credit Evaluation Team.
After TCC, Hurdle plans to pursue a bachelor’s in media studies at the University of Virginia. His dream is to launch an organization that helps high school dropouts earn their GEDs and move on to higher education. “Coming to TCC has changed my perspective substantially. I did not come to college just to learn, but I came so people would learn from me, and to give something back,” he said.
In his free time, Hurdle serves as keeper of the house for Impact Church in Norfolk and enjoys woodworking, writing, working out and cooking.
“It’s an honor to receive a scholarship with King’s name on it,” Hurdle said. “I’ll do my best to represent him well in the years to come.”
Bryan Hurdle in his own words