“If I do it, then you have to do it, too.” These were the last words Courtney Messer had said to her mom, Misty Weikel, before they both enrolled at The Excel Center in August of 2013.
In 2013, Courtney got pregnant with her son, Jakobey, and left high school. At the age of 36, Misty had also not completed high school . She is a mother of nine, including Courtney, whose ages range from 10 to 26, some of whom are high school dropouts as well. She was convinced that it was time to make a change.
In the summer of 2013, Misty encouraged Courtney to refocus on her education in order to be a better role model for her siblings and Jakobey. It didn’t take much to convince Courtney of the importance of a high school education, but she also knew it was important to push her mom to do it as well. The only way Courtney was going to enroll at The Excel Center is if her mom did it with her. This took a little bit of convincing from both Courtney and their dad, but in August 2013, both Courtney and Misty began their The Excel Center journey towards a Core 40 diploma.
While at The Excel Center, Courtney got pregnant with her second child, Journey. When she gave birth to her baby girl, Courtney didn’t wait long before she returned to school. In only three days after the delivery, Courtney was back in the classroom, transforming her life-- and her family’s lives-- for the better.
“I wanted to do it for my kids,” said Courtney. “They need to know the importance of education. I wanted to prove to them that they can do it, too.”
During their time at The Excel Center, Courtney and Misty have seen their lives transform for the better. They have experienced education as something they enjoy in life rather than just something they have to do. They've also come to understand the importance of a diploma and how it will impact the way they and their families thrive in life.
“From the beginning, I didn’t think I would make it,” Misty said. “It’s been a long road. I’ve learned a lot about myself, and now I know I can do whatever it is I put my mind to.”
Courtney and Misty graduated with their Core 40 high school diploma May 1, 2015. Misty now works at The Excel Center in Lafayette in the Young Learners Child Care center. Courtney’s plans included working towards becoming a pediatrician.