Meet Heath Dickey
Heath Dickey joined us as a day student in 8th grade and graduated from our Upper School in 2010. Heath attended Georgetown University in Washington, DC where he played
Division I Football. He went on to receive his Doctor of Jurisprudence (J.D.) from Texas A&M University School of Law and worked in the Texas Legislature, starting with the 84th Legislative Session and ending with the 87th Legislative Session before he moved back to Tyler, Texas.
Read more to learn about Heath’s experience at Brook Hill, what he’s been up to since Graduation, and how he chose to enroll his daughter at Brook Hill too!
Q + A
Heath! Let’s take it back to the beginning. What originally brought you to Brook Hill?
“Initially, I came to Brook Hill from another private school in the area because Brook Hill was one of the earliest private schools in the area to implement a football program. I was a 270-pound seventh grader, so my parents and I thought that a football scholarship might be a good alternative to going into debt for college.”
Haha, how neat! Can you tell us a little bit about what all you were involved in on campus?
“I played just about every sport that the school had to offer. I was also proud to be a part of a state championship orchestra crew, even if I was the worst string bass in school history. I happily remember being an extra in a couple of Mr. Ballard’s plays – I always got the henchmen roles. Mason Spradlin and I put together a theological debate and conversation once. We filled up the auditorium in Founder’s Hall. The debate panel had representatives from many Christian denominations, and I think it had a pretty good turnout. If I recall, Mr. Rhoads really threw down on the debate stage! I really loved my time at Brook Hill and was all too happy to send my own daughter here. She is down in the Lower School, but I am confident she’ll be a mean volleyball player when she gets to the Middle School.“
You really “plugged in” while you were here! When you think back on your time here, what faculty member at Brook Hill do you think had the biggest impact on you?
“I credit Mr. Dement for my obsession with politics and American history. The inspiration he provided has served me well in my career in politics. I am grateful to Mr. Wes English and Mr. Spencer Smith. They were excellent teachers, but more importantly, they were excellent examples of God-fearing husbands and fathers. I often aspired to their virtues as a high schooler. They were instrumental in setting me down a path where I discovered my faith later on in college. I am also indebted to Coach David Collins. He never accepted anything less than my best effort on the soccer field and football field. He is also an excellent family man, and I get nostalgic thinking about serving on his special team unit – it was made out of some real headhunters!”
“AT BROOK HILL, NOBODY IS A NOBODY. THIS HIGH-VISIBILITY IS A GREAT ATMOSPHERE FOR FOSTERING ACCOUNTABILITY.” -HEATH DICKEY ’10
That makes us happy to hear! Tell us about life after Brook Hill. Where did you attend college? What all were you involved in at your university? What are you up to now?
“After high school, I went up north to Georgetown University. I was a scholarship athlete there, and I spent my summers interning on Capitol Hill. When I finished undergrad, I started a career in state politics down in Austin. At some point, my wife put me through law school and before moving back to Tyler, I served as Chief of Staff to the President Pro Temp of the Texas Senate. I miss working in the state legislature, but not as badly as I missed East Texas. I moved back to Tyler last year and I am currently working as an attorney. My lovely wife Mary and I have two children and are expecting our third any day now. I love being back home – I’ve been homesick since I left for undergrad.”
How fun! How did Brook Hill prepare you for these experiences and help you be successful?
“Brook Hill gave me a love and interest in the Scriptures. Brook Hill’s humanities program taught me how to think rationally. I still love history and theology because of it being instilled into me as a student at Brook Hill. Both of these disciplines are often discarded as impractical in modern society, but I can’t think of two subjects that have had a bigger impact on my life. They orient your life, and have helped me plot a course through adulthood. Overall, Brook Hill made me excited about learning, and I don’t think that’s all too common in contemporary education.”
It’s been almost 14 years since you graduated from BH! When you think about your time at Brook Hill, what are you grateful for?
“I am most thankful for the teachers who were unashamed of the Gospel. I grew up in a Christian home, and my parents always took me to church. That said, I don’t think I would have ever had a sincere encounter with Christ if not for Brook Hill’s theology curriculum. I am also grateful for Brook Hill’s smaller class size. Many of my peers in college were underdeveloped socially – they weren’t comfortable with responsibility or accountability. At Brook Hill, nobody is a nobody. This high-visibility is a great atmosphere for fostering accountability. “
“BROOK HILL WILL MEET YOUR STUDENT WHERE HE OR SHE IS AND CHALLENGE THEM THERE.“ -HEATH DICKEY ’10
We love that! When it came time to send your own daughter to school, what made you choose Brook Hill?
“Legacy is an essential component of tradition, and tradition is the keystone to culture. I want my daughter to partake and treasure the same culture that I grew up in and now adore. My parents passed on a beautiful heritage to me. Knowing who I am and where I came from is liberating in a society that seems to promote alien cultures in lieu of its own. My daughter will learn about her heritage at Brook Hill much the same way I did. Mr. Dement’s museum is a testament to Brook Hill’s commitment to preserving our past. There is a lovely quote from a fella named Gustav Mahler that comes to mind: “Tradition is not the worship of ashes, but the preservation of fire.” Brook Hill equipped me with the mental and spiritual faculties to preserve the beautiful elements of my culture – and I know it will do the same with my daughter.”
We couldn’t have said it better ourselves, Heath! What would you say to someone considering Brook Hill for themselves or their children?
“There are other schools that can compete with Brook Hill’s curriculum, fine arts, sports, and Christ-centered approach. However, I believe you’d be hard-pressed to find a school that does all four of these things as well as Brook Hill. Brook Hill promotes balance in its students. Most schools seem content to pigeon-hole students into one or two aptitudes. Brook Hill forces their students to strive for excellence in places where the student may not be comfortable. Brook Hill will meet your student where he or she is and challenge them there. This type of adversity is great for a high schooler because its confined to an environment where everyone wants you to succeed. Great practice for college, where faculty, staff, and peers don’t care if you sink or swim!”