Recent Temple College Honors Graduate Starts at A&M-Central Texas This Fall

Rachel Edelbrock poses in her Temple College graduation attire
Rachel Edelbrock poses in her Temple College graduation attire. Photo Courtesy of Rachel Edelbrock.

In some respects, Belton resident Rachel Edelbrock, 19, is not where she thought she’d be this fall, but like so many, she’s determined to pursue her life’s goals, no matter what that might mean.

After graduating from Belton High School in 2019, she set out for College Station, attending her parent’s alma mater and pursuing a degree in marketing. A conscientious student, she had taken advantage of the opportunities she had, taking dual credit classes while in high school, racking up 24 hours of credit toward her undergraduate degree and getting accepted into the Texas A&M University Mays Business School. For Edelbrock, whose parents, Lisa and Kody Shed, were both A&M grads, going to College Station meant being a part of a long-cherished family tradition.

After completing her first semester, she was excited for a second semester when she realized that upperclassmen had already taken the seats in the classes she needed to remain a full-time student. Because of this, Edelbrock decided to return to Belton, enrolling at Temple College in Spring 2020.

And it was there, she noted, her future found her.

Working full-time at her mom’s business, Lisa’s Dance Connection, Edelbrock also took on full-time courses, balancing both with equal parts of determination and dedication.

“Not only am I committed to teaching dance, but I am dedicated to teaching self-discipline, accountability, and leadership.”

Not that there weren’t occasional challenges, though, especially when she enrolled for college algebra. Like many students, especially those in the fine arts, Edelbrock didn’t consider math her strongest subject area. But she approached it with the qualities she referenced, as attested to by her professor, Shelly Buuck.

“Rachel had a level of maturity about her courses that I genuinely admired,” said Buuck. “Even though she was intimidated by the topic, she didn’t let that stop her. She was in class early every day, she stayed engaged, asking good questions, and took responsibility for learning it.”

Edelbrock acknowledges she had to work hard at it, but she credits Buuck, describing her teacher as someone who had her back from day one.

“Math didn’t come naturally to me,” she admitted. “But Professor Buuck went out of her way to make sure I understood the material. She genuinely cared about my learning and was always there to offer support and encouragement and lots and lots of algebra practice.”

Because Edelbrock had earned so much college credit as a high school student, and because of her academic work in that first semester in College Station, she graduated as an honors student within two semesters, finishing her associate degree in the Summer of 2020.

It was then that the prospect of being a graduate of a Texas A&M University regional university returned to her. A&M-Central Texas, she learned, had a long-standing partnership with Temple College designed to ensure a smooth transfer for community college students seeking opportunities to finish their undergraduate degree.

“I can’t even begin to say how impressed I was with the support I received as a new transfer student,” Edelbrock said. “In some places, the student is just left to figure it out on their own, but as soon as I made contact with the A&M-Central Texas advisors and the admissions counselors, they were checking in with me to make sure I had everything I needed on time. I wasn’t just a number; I was a person they stayed in routine contact with. They knew me by my first name, and I knew them by theirs.”

In the midst of all of these life-changing events, Edelbrock confronted and conquered one more challenge, marrying her high school sweetheart, Joseph, this summer, in the midst of the COVID19 pandemic, planning a wedding, reception, and honeymoon that allowed family members to stay socially distanced, connected by video, or via social media.

She begins the upcoming fall semester with a renewed sense of purpose. Her goal is to earn her undergraduate degree in marketing and – someday – continue the legacy established by Lisa’s Dance Connection.

“What I’ve learned,” she says, “is that we can’t always see the obstacles that will challenge us, but we can control their impact on us if we refuse to give up in the face of adversity. Everything has a way of working out if we trust God and choose not to give up.
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