Looking back now, Hergit can fully appreciate that – while growing up in a world where the great divide between the have-nots and the privileged – her educational path was one of great fortune. It started at home – a home that was led by parents that valued education and that read to their children; a home that was filled with books.

Her academic journey started with an experiment – a school that was owned and operated by the Dominican Republic Tobacco Industry, where the children of the workers had access to the same level of education as that of the children of the executives, and where education was at a premium. The best education money can buy – and it was free. Books, tuition – all free. La Esperanza provided young Hergit the solid foundations that would serve her well throughout her entire life. Not just academically, but socially as well.

While the public school system in the Dominican Republic – then as much as now – left much to be desired, Hergit had the opportunity to pursue her studies in private schools thanks to government founded scholarship based on merit. This further sealed her belief in the value of a proper education.

She later attended the UTESA – the Technological University of Santiago – where she studied Business Administration.

The opportunity to pursue her studies in institutions such as these, and the privilege of having parents for whom education was an absolute shaped the way she approaches her current position with the Public Education Foundation. “It was such an everyday, normal occurrence for me growing up to my mother who read to me and that were fully invested in my learning, that it never occurred to me that some of my kids out there are going at it alone” she once said. “Often, it’s not a question of ill-will by parents – sometimes they don’t have the time to devote to their children’s education. Sometimes, they don’t have the know-how to, given the limited education they received themselves. But we’re in this together, and where they won’t or can’t – we can and must.”

In addition to the education of others, Hergit is also committed to the furthering of her own education, in line with her passion of language. She is currently pursuing a master’s degree in Hispanic Studies, at the University of Nevada in Las Vegas.