Career and Technical Education is celebrated nationwide during the month of February. The Washington County Career Center joined in the celebration by hosting an Annual Career Fair for the county’s sophomores. In addition, the Washington County Career Center Board of Education honored outstanding contributors to career and technical education as part of the celebration.
During its February meeting, the board recognized Stacy Houser and Laurie Strahler, for their substantial contributions to the technical education programs at the Career Center – High School.
Stacy Houser has parlayed her life-long love of sports and an active lifestyle into a thriving fitness business, Temple Challenge LLC, located in Washington, West Virginia.
Houser is a Parkersburg native who loves fitness and being the most positive light she possibly can. She graduated from the University of Maryland in 2010 with a bachelor’s degree in Women’s Studies with a concentration in Kinesiology. In 2012, she graduated from Ohio University with a master’s degree in Sports Science. While in graduate school, she noticed a need for some type of change – physically, mentally, and spiritually – due to the obesity, cardiovascular disease, and depression epidemic.
Houser began Temple Challenge in 2014, organizing a “church vs. church” fitness challenge built around a one-hour exercise regimen combining strength, cardio and flexibility workouts with core work that could accommodate newbies as well as more advanced exercisers. As word spread, it wasn’t long before she opened it up to the community-at-large with over 100 participants. Since then, her business has grown to over 2,000 at fifteen locations.
“Education and caring about people are the keys. If you love people, they will believe in you for so much more,” Houser commented. She promotes a “Temple Challenge Gives Back” campaign to encourage participants to give back to their communities, with a different theme each month. The Career Center’s Sports Medicine & Exercise Science instructor, Lauren Copen, further adds, “Stacy continues to be an active participant in classroom activities as a guest speaker as well as a mentor and an advisor. We appreciate the valuable insight she is able to give to our students who want to further their careers in this field of study.”
Laurie Strahler is a second-generation Owner/Operator of McDonald’s of Marietta, and President of Hadler Management Company. Strahler has been in the McDonald’s system since 1976, an owner/operator since 1992, and currently operating at three locations. She has held many leadership positions with McDonald’s, including President of the Tri State Co Op, member of the Pittsburgh Region Leadership Council, President of the Pittsburgh Region Chapter of the Women Operators Network, current Treasurer of Tri State Co Op, member of the Business Committee for Co Op, current PEOPLE Lead for a group of 223 restaurants, and in a leadership role on the McDonald’s in Walmart National Advisory Board.
Strahler is a strong supporter of Ronald McDonald House Charities. In April 2016, she held a fundraiser for the Charleston, West Virginia Ronald McDonald House called “Dancing with the Docs.” What began as a wild idea became a dream come true at the People’s Bank Theatre with selling 940 tickets and raising $49,000. In 2015, she was given the “Owning the Community” Award by McDonald’s Corporation for her outstanding service to the community and, in 2016, was awarded the prestigious Ronald Award for her commitment to McDonald’s and the community. Assistant Director for the high school, Kaye Spiker, commented, “Laurie provides the Career Center each year with giveaway food gift cards, spoke during our Student Success Series, and promotes a strong work ethic by hiring many of our students. She teaches responsibility, time management, and working well with others through customer service.”
PHOTOS: Stacy Houser, Laurie Strahler