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Devils Lake graduate wins Alternative Student of the Year award

Devils Lake, ND (WDAZ TV) - Teenage mothers are five times more likely to drop out of high school compared to other  female students, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In Devils Lake, one young mother is honored for her commitment for earning her education...and helping other mothers reach their educational goals.

Ashley Bachmeier was like any other student, working toward her high school degree, when life interrupted.

Ashley Bachmeier/Devils Lake High School graduate: “The end of my junior year I found out I was pregnant.”       

She realized she would need help to juggle pregnancy and motherhood with high school. That's why she enrolled in the alternative learning program at Devils Lake High School.

Bachmeier says, “In Alternative, you work on your own. You work at your own pace.”

Alternative education helps non-traditional students succeed, from kids with behavioral challenges, older students returning to school, and in her case, young parents.

Christa Brodina/Devils Lake High School Assistant Principal: “Individualize the instruction that they give so it's more one on one instruction. Everything isn't a cookie cutter example.”

Bachmeier buckled down and started studying, continuing classes even after her daughter Kenley was born early this year.

“It was difficult”, she says.

Bachmeier wasn't just focused on her studies. She helped a fellow young mother stay in school as well.

She adds, “I would pick her up and her daughter, and I would bring her daughter to daycare, and some days I would end up taking her daughter to daycare, her to school, and her sisters to school.”

For that selflessness, the North Dakota Association for Lifelong Learning named Bachmeier its 2015 Alternative Student of the Year.

Brodina says, “I think Ashley went above and beyond any student in school, just in general. It takes a special person to stop at another student's house and pick them up and bring them to school in the morning.”

She says she never expected to get an award simply for going to school. She says she was just trying to do what it takes to get an education, and help others do the same thing.

She adds, “It feels awesome. I was very surprised.”

Along with the award, Bachmeier also has her degree. She graduated on time with the rest of the class in May.

She plans to continue her education, and enroll in Lake Region State College next year to study early childhood education.

Adam Ladwig

Adam Ladwig joined WDAZ as the Devils Lake bureau reporter in January, 2012. Prior to that he reported for KDUH-TV in Scottsbluff, Nebraska. Adam has won multiple awards during his time at WDAZ, including an Eric Sevareid award and a Regional Emmy Award as part of team coverage during the search for Anthony Kuznia.  A Colorado native, Adam graduated from the University of Colorado with a degree in Journalism. He misses the Rocky Mountains, but the kind people of North Dakota more than make up for that. He is thrilled to be in the Lake Region, telling stories that matter. In his spare time, Adam is usually futilely attempting to get in shape, or cheering for his beloved Denver Broncos.