Liberty educators receive KHQA Excellent Educator awards

Chuck Brooks

We have a special edition of KHQA's Excellent Educator.

Two area educators received the distinguished honor this month.

That comes as no surprise to those who know them and go through the music program at Liberty Community Unit School District.

This month's awards go to Karen Dickhut, who teaches vocal music and band director Chuck Brooks, both of whom have been teaching for more than 30 years.

Mrs. Karen Dickhut said, "Ever since I was 13, I knew I wanted to be a music teacher. I loved music and I love to share. Through music, I can teach all the other subjects. We work on grammar. We work on foreign languages. We incorporate physical education with dancing. We do math. We deal with science and sound, so there are so many avenues I can use and still continue to teach music and give them a rounded education through music."

Mr. Chuck Brooks said, "I think the reason I went into it is I enjoyed it so much. Growing up in Quincy, going to Quincy High and then the University of Illinois, we didn't want to give up playing and teaching was always so much fun. I taught in music stories in Quincy, and it's just been a part of my life, most of my life."

What's kept you in the field for so long?

Brooks answered, "The students. The students make it worth it. They're fun to teach and when you have good music to play, they just light up and they do the best they can with anything I give them."

Dickhut said, "We have the internal beat within ourselves as our heart beats, but we also need to be able to walk down the street without tripping over ourselves. We need to make sure when we work in a group, we can work together and not speed up or slow down, and so we keep that steady beat."

Brooks said, "I think it's really important that peop0le don't forget the fine arts in the schools. Kids get to do a lot of things when they're young. This is a time plant those seeds and develop the talents of all the children in this part of the State of Illinois, and you can tell when they have good teaching and a good solid school, the opportunities are there for students, and it could go for their whole life."