Mackenzie was struggling to make friends at her high school—she felt like an outcast and that she never really fit into any of the cliques, despite being highly involved in the cheer team. When she transferred to CEC, it was a totally different story.  


“Everyone is friends with everyone, so if you make friends with one person, it’s like you make friends with everyone,” she said. “It’s really fun.” 


Mackenzie is highly involved in a number of student clubs and activities, including student council, Sources of Strength and theater—this year she’s participating in the school’s production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. She still finds time for her college classes and to socialize on the weekend. She’s able to make it all work with the support of CEC staff. 


“My advisor and I get along really well, and I’m really close with my teachers,” she said. “I feel like I can talk to them about almost anything, and they understand that even though I’m taking college classes, I’m still a high school student.” 


Initially Mackenzie thought she would pursue a career in the sciences, but after coaching at a cheer camp, realized her passion for teaching. Next semester she’ll have the opportunity to shadow a teacher for a day as part of Workforce—a class that teaches real-life skills like budgeting and navigating student loans, and includes on-the-job experiences.  


Mackenzie will jump straight into a master’s program for elementary education when she graduates from CEC. She plans to study at the University of Northern Colorado and wants to work in special education. With the help of her credits from CEC, Mackenzie will graduate from college with an advanced degree—debt free. “The most rewarding thing about being at CEC is just feeling like I fit in, and that I finally have friends who know me,” she said. “Oh and that I’ll get free college. That’s big, too.”