Leurs, a New Orleans native, lives in from Fort Hood, Texas. Her husband is a member of the U.S. Army and served three tours in Iraq. She is a veteran of the U.S. Navy.
“I didn’t start off with the intention of earning a degree,” said Leurs. “Because of the G.I. Bill, I decided to take a math course, then I kept going and decided to earn an associate degree. Then I kept going.”
Leurs started taking classes when her husband was stationed in Germany and continued when he was transferred to Fort Campbell, Kentucky, Fort Polk and Fort Hood.
She took traditional face-to-face classes then switched to online classes because of increased family demands while living at Fort Polk. Leurs has six children between age 6 and 12 and had four children since starting college.
“Because of my children, taking online classes just made sense,” said Leurs. “When I was in the Navy, I learned to take care of myself and taking online classes forced me to dive in and figure things out for myself. I knew I had to make it work.”
She said her children are excited about what she has accomplished.
“Getting through school has had a lot of ups and downs. It’s been stressful with my husband being gone,” said Leurs. “But my children understand that there are times when mommy has to do her school work. They have been very supportive. I didn’t think my younger children really understood it, but a few days ago, my five year old said he can’t wait to go to my graduation.”
Leurs works at an elementary school as a teacher’s aide. She works with kindergarten students assisting the teacher in a variety of tasks including working with special needs students. This summer, she will start a teacher certification program in Texas and hopes to teach elementary school and earn a master’s in counseling.
“I enjoy counseling and helping other people,” she said. “I’m not sure right now what opportunities will be available for me. I’m a person who lives by faith and know that God opens doors.”
Leurs said her children inspired her to finish her bachelor’s degree.
“Because of them, I couldn’t stop because what would that show my children. If I quit, I could never tell them to keep going when things get difficult,” she said.
For more information on electronic classes at Northwestern State, go to ensu.nsula.edu.