Growing up, Katie Reigelsperger had little support from her parents, who struggled with substance abuse. Over the years, Katie was in and out of the foster care system and struggled to find the stability and guidance that she needed to make healthy choices. Then, at the age of 13, she found out she was pregnant.
The news of her pregnancy left Katie scared and confused. She was withdrawn from school by her parents with the promise of being homeschooled instead. That promise went unfulfilled, but Katie did not let that stop her from determining a new path for herself.
“This moment in my life defined me,” said Katie. “It wasn’t long before I realized that, although it didn’t seem like it, I had choices. I quickly learned how tough of a road I was walking.”
For several years, Katie worked a series of jobs that had no advancement opportunity, little financial security and no benefits. Then, Katie learned about The Excel Center®, where she could take courses to earn her high school diploma at an accelerated pace. She decided to enroll and took advantage of the on-site child care center to care for her sons while she attended class. In just eight months, Katie earned 42 credits and two industry certifications — all at no cost.
“I started classes at The Excel Center with zero high school credits and not a day of high school experience,” said Katie. “I was determined to change my path and to show my children how important hard work and education are.”
In June 2014, Katie graduated with honors, college credits and a 3.8 GPA. Soon after, she was offered a full-time position at Riverview Hospital as an inpatient pharmacy technician, where she has since been cross-trained in several areas across the hospital. She now serves as her department’s pharmacy technician supervisor.
In her spare time, Katie also works with local teenagers that are interested in pursuing medical careers and teaches a pharmacy technician certification course at The Excel Center. The ability to assist students whose shoes she was once in has meant a lot to Katie.
“It means so much to come to a place and know — sometimes for the first time — that no one is going to give up on you,” said Katie. “The Excel Center helped me find a purpose, and has helped me set an example for my children, that I am proud of.”
To learn more about The Excel Center, or to enroll, please visit excelcenter.org.