By Edward Riley
Stephanie Schiele is a young lady who has turned her life around, found purpose through education, and is taking advantage of what Centralia College offers to lay the foundation for a solid future.
As a teenager Schiele was in trouble at home, in school and with the authorities.
“I wasn’t a good kid during my teenage years,” she said. “My parents divorced when I was 12 and I didn’t handle it well.”
Along the way she realized the need to turn her life around, and to find success not only for herself but also for her family. She recognized that education held the key for her and she enrolled at Centralia College.
Currently, Schiele is a second-year student in the energy technology (power operations) program. In addition to her studies, she has the added responsibility of serving as the Associated Students of Centralia College president.
Schiele is earning an Associate in Applied Science degree in power plant technology and will be graduating this spring with high honors.
She plans to attend The Evergreen State College this fall and is the recipient of an Evergreen Foundation Scholarship.
“I haven’t decided on a major yet, but I plan on studying environmental sciences with a focus on sustainable agriculture,” she said. “I’ll figure out the details along the way.”
Schiele speaks highly of the opportunities she’s had at the college and especially the wide variety of friends she’s made.
She recently returned from a 10-day field trip to South America offered through the college.
Students spent time living with the indigenous people and were able to visit multiple archeological sites containing Mayan ruins.
“It was an amazing experience,” Schiele said. “We really connected with the local people, I’ll never forget them, or the opportunity to travel to Central America.
As the student body president, Schiele has proven to be an effective leader while developing her leadership skills. Those skills will serve her well as she continues with her career goals.
Schiele is also the mother of two girls, Noelle age 4, and Paige age 6.
“I want to set a good example for my daughters,” she said. “I can’t just tell them to do the right things. I have to show them.” For her, a college education is the right thing.
She praises her family for support and the help family members have provided while she attends college, especially for believing in her when she had doubts about abilities.
Schiele also commends her long-time partner and the girls’ father Kyle Elliot.
“He took care of our girls and made it possible for me to focus on school,” she said. “I couldn’t have done it without him.”
She feels that people can overcome most any obstacles that keeps them from attending college. She’s proof that pushing yourself to go farther through education is one of the best ways to succeed.
“All of the struggles are definitely worth it,” she said. “You can’t let fear control your life, you’ll never know what you’ve missed if you do.”