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Local woman goes from teen mom to top teacher

By Stephanie Hale-Lopez
Published On: Mar 19 2013 07:16:20 PM CDT
Updated On: Mar 19 2013 10:29:37 PM CDT

Courtney Clark is in her first year of teaching. It's a dream she said she was able to turn into a reality, despite life's hurdles.

AMMON, Idaho -

Alternative schooling is an option for students who are considered at risk for not graduating at a normal pace.

While most students who go the alternative route have had past failures in public schools; the idea of an alternative approach is to lower the dropout rate and prepare them for college or the workforce.

Lanie Keller, principal of Ammon Elementary, recently hired a former student of his from back in 1998.

The student was a teen mother and attended Lincoln Alternative High School -- now, she's one of the district's top teachers.

Courtney Clark is in her first year of teaching. It's a dream she said she was able to turn into a reality, despite life's hurdles.

"60 percent of teen moms don't graduate and don't really do anything with their lives and I didn't want to be that statistic," said Clark.

Courtney was a teen mom during her high school years. She said she chose to go to Lincoln Alternative for a more fast-paced learning experience and said her teachers made all the difference.

"You knew that they cared about your success," said Clark. "They were really close to you and treated you like an adult."

After high school, Courtney graduated from Idaho State University and now teaches first grade at Ammon Elementary.

"It was challenging and it did take me longer than normal to finish college, but you can do anything you put your mind to and I really do believe that," said Clark.

Courtney's son is 15 now and she said she's turned her struggles into an example for him.

"You need to go out there and give it your all," said Clark. "Sometimes it's a lot harder to achieve those things, but you can still do it."

The State of Idaho currently has 71 alternative education programs; three of those are in the Bonneville School District.

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