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senior endures hardships

Tessa Wallace

March 16, 2020


            Ambitious. Determined. Passionate. Senior Korbin Hardenbrook is a living example of those adjectives.

          Attending six different schools in 10 years has not prevented this ambitious individual from scoring 27 on his ACT test or being ranked 4th in this year’s senior class. Not even poverty or parents who abused drugs would stop Korbin in his quest to protect his siblings.

          Korbin’s journey began in McCook when he was 9. His parents separated, and because his father was an alcoholic and abusive when drunk, he and his siblings Kaeton and Pheonyx, lived with their mother.

          During that time, Korbin made sure their homework was done and that they had clean clothes, sometimes washing them in the bathtub. Even though there was only a two and four-year age difference between Korbin and his siblings, he became their sole provider.

          Six months after the separation, Korbin’s father returned and took Korbin and his brother with him to live in Walthill with their paternal grandparents. Life was better because Korbin could rely on them to help take care of the family, and he could concentrate on school and football.

          When he started middle school, Korbin knew he wanted to play more than 6 man football and would have to transfer to Pender, 13 miles away, to do so.

          Still living in Walthill, Korbin had to walk four miles to catch the bus to Pender every day, but he was determined to make it work because he was passionate about football. “It was just something I want to do, I wanted people to know my name.”

          His father decided he wanted to attend the Nebraska Indian Community College. At first, he went to school in Macy but then switched to Sioux City. It was time to move again after his sophomore football season.

          Korbin and his siblings attended West Sioux City Public School and lived in a one-bedroom apartment. Korbin was again responsible for walking three miles with them to school. However, he didn’t complain. He worked seasonal jobs such as mowing and snow removal to pay for food. “It wasn’t much money, but it helped out at times.”

          Korbin was only in Sioux City for one year when his father moved to Wayne after graduating from NICC.

          Unfortunately, they had no placed to live so they pitched tents in the park where they lived until October when they moved to a three-bedroom apartment provided by Wayne State College where his father was enrolled.

          Korbin thought he was in heaven. In fact, for the first time in his life, Korbin had a bedroom to himself.

          Unfortunately, heaven didn’t last long. After spending the summer with her mother, Pheonyx decided to stay in McCook. Korbin’s father fell into a funk, fought with Korbin and Kaeton and became violent. Keaton then moved back to McCook.         With this, Korbin knew he couldn’t stop living his life just because it was getting hard. So he kept going, continuing with school and working at any jobs he could find.

Korbin’s father kicked him out of the apartment after a fight the day before Korbin took the ACT test in April. Knowing that this wasn’t the conditions he wanted to live in anymore, Korbin moved in with a friend in Pender to finish his junior year.

          His father was evicted from the apartment, and from that time until a football game in September, Korbin did not see his father. Nor did he want to.

          Last summer, he attended a football camp sponsored by West Point Beemer. He really liked the coaches but needed a place to stay if he was going to attend school here.

          Chase Sherwood, a soon-to-be sophomore football player, went home and asked his grandparents, Jim and Kathi, if Korbin could stay with them. “Our family has helped someone in the past, and I just felt that we were in a good place to help him.”

          They said yes, and Korbin moved again and was set to attend another school his senior year.

          Things were different for Korbin at the Sherwoods’ because for the first time in his life, he had a curfew and family expectations, something he was grateful for.

          And with little than two months left at WPBHS, Korbin plans to attend the University of Nebraska-Lincoln to major in health sciences so he can become a physical therapist.

          Through his life Korbin has learned valuable lessons. He encourages everyone “not to take anything for granted, appreciate what you have.”

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