The Murray family has always been close, so when second-to-youngest Courtney couldn’t stop talking about the fun she was having at Front Range Community College, it rubbed off on her siblings.
Courtney (age 24), her sister, Chelsea (31), and her brother, Logan (18), were all homeschooled growing up. For Courtney, the flexibility was ideal because of her passion for dance. A lifelong dancer, when she finished high school, she immediately began her dancing career, first with Blue Moon Dance Company and then with Schiff Dance Collective, both in Boulder.
“When I finished high school, college wasn’t on my mind,” says Courtney. “A lot of dancers put off education for later so they can train and focus on their careers while their body is in the best condition. I felt it was important to wait to go to college until I found the right thing.”
Discovering a Passion
During her years as a professional dancer, Courtney started to formulate her dream career: to become a therapist for dance companies, helping young dancers manage the emotional stresses inherent in the profession.
So when she saw a flyer for FRCC, she decided to check it out. “I took two classes in fall 2009 and fell in love with the place,” says Courtney, who even became a student ambassador and a student worker in the Student Life Center at Boulder County Campus (and later, in the call center). “It has been a wonderful experience. I’m probably a little obnoxious about how much I like it.” When she graduates from FRCC, Courtney plans to transfer to the University of Colorado at Boulder or New York University to double major in dance and psychology.
Chasing a Dream to Save the Oceans
Like her little sister, Chelsea had forgone college after high school to begin a career—first in retail and later in orthodontics. But for years, she’d thought about college. “I’ve always loved the ocean, and I’m an advocate of conservation and maintaining our ocean’s health,” she says. “Courtney had enrolled at FRCC and she couldn’t stop talking about it. She has an exuberance and a passion for Front Range, and when Courtney gets revved up about something, you know it’s pretty special.”
Chelsea started in fall 2010 and hasn’t looked back. She is pursuing an A.S. and a certificate in Geographic Information Systems. She plans to transfer to a Colorado four-year university to earn a bachelor’s in geology and hopes to eventually pursue a master’s in oceanography in a coastal state such as Florida, Hawaii, or Oregon.
Though Chelsea had some fears about going to college, they were quickly diminished—and she even decided to become a student ambassador like Courtney. “I come from a unique demographic, and I wanted to be that voice for the 40-year-old student who is facing different issues than someone coming to FRCC at age 18,” she says.
Admittedly, she also wanted to be FRCC’s cheerleader. “I just like telling people how great it is here,” Chelsea says. “I want to encourage those who may face reservations. This school has exceeded my expectations.”
Exploring Possibilities after High School
Nineteen-year-old Logan wasn’t sure what he wanted to do after high school, but says his sisters encouraged him to start out at FRCC while he explored possibilities.
“Within the first semester, I decided to study computer networking because I liked those classes so much,” says Logan, who has always been interested in computers (his dream job one day is to work at Google). “I like smaller environments, so FRCC is a good fit for me.”
Logan got a job helping run the Getting Started sessions his first semester, but he was quickly recommend by his computer networking instructor, Joe Kellogg, for a position in IT at Boulder County Campus. Fixing computer issues around campus has been a great way to become entrenched in the campus community, Logan says. “I love it,” he says. “This community is really friendly, so every day at work is a good day.”
Bonded for Life
When the Murrays all graduate from FRCC in 2013, they’ll go their separate ways—but they are unanimous in their pride for the place where they all began their educational journeys. “I feel like going to FRCC is the best decision of my life,” Courtney says. “The instructors and staff here have made the experience, and I know Chelsea and Logan would say the same. If you need help here, there’s always someone to give it to you.”
FRCC as a Family Tradition
As Chelsea puts it, FRCC has become a tradition in the Murray family (the three siblings are now trying to convince their mother to take creative writing classes). “This is the educational environment we all up grew up in: going to school with each other,” she says. “We’re a tight-knit family, so we tend to push each other and we don’t let each other slack off. It’s definitely a great reason to go to college with your family.”