By Jon Schroeder

The Cove Herald

She’s no typical student.

Andrea Brown is finishing her associate’s degree this summer at Central Texas College in Killeen, studying horticulture.

That may seem common enough — many other college students are doing the same. But most wouldn’t be able to do what Brown did Tuesday, taking time to visit her fourth great-grandchild at her daughter’s house in Nolanville.

At 64, Brown doesn’t seem to feel her age although she’s proud of her experience. She holds an internship and a part-time job along with her studies.

“My dad was 39 up until he was 86,” she said with a laugh. “I can’t be any older than 25.”

Brown learned the value of college early and made sure that her children were well educated. But in her generation, college wasn’t necessarily the expectation. Her husband, Kent, found that a high school diploma alone was a limiting factor in his construction career, and he too went back to college in 2001 after a knee replacement.

As he was taking his last class (he studied drafting at Texas State Technical College but took a final course at CTC), Andrea took her first.

That was her only class that semester, and she’s kept it light in the time since, taking 10 to 12 hours each semester. Brown might have taken more at once, but she’s not one for all-nighters.

“It’s my new adventure in life,” she said. “I didn’t want it to get to where it isn’t fun.”

Of course, in addition to her classes and part-time job with the school of nursing, Brown also teaches classes at the Gatesville Public Library and for the Gatesville Boys and Girls Clubs.

She may have nine grandchildren, but Brown is also a student horticulture/youth intern at the Coryell County Agrilife Extension office, where she’s receiving four hours of college credit for a 336-hour commitment this summer.

With a few advantages — “I don’t care about getting on the phone and getting things done,” she says — Brown has accomplished a lot this summer, including the start of a new program she helped get off the ground.

Working with the City of Gatesville and the county extension office this summer, Brown did something most interns wouldn’t. She asked for and received 4,800 pounds of flower bulbs this summer for a project at Freedom Park, distributing them to the park, local nursing homes, the city and to clubs, along with 484 residents from around Gatesville, each of whom received a boxful of the bulbs.

“Anything you get in the box you can have,” she told the hundreds who picked them up from the extension office, watching them carrying towering piles of the bulbs away. The bulbs, valued at about $24,000, were all received at shipping cost from a wholesale company which packages bulbs. Brown hopes the program will continue next year with the added involvement of Copperas Cove.

County Extension Agent Lyle Zoeller is trying to get a part-time position for her at the AgriLife Extension Office, and Brown is also working toward teaching junior master gardener classes through area school districts, training this week in Belton.

Brown lives in Turnersville with her husband, and they’ve been in the area since 1985. She has three adult, married children who live in the area: Amelia James of Killeen, Luci Stefek of Nolanville and Hurshell Brown of Burleson.

Contact Jon Schroeder at or (254) 501-7475.

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