25 Years

Runner Donates Marathon Proceeds to Education, Selects Seeds as Partner Recipient

Some might call Courtney Schoch an adrenaline junkie: running with wild animals, piloting jets, traveling the world. Not to mention, she survived being a mom! She started a non profit, taught children and adults to read in third world countries, and overall, she leads a pretty impressive life.

She’s also a GED graduate.

From Drop Out to Captain
Captain Courtney Schoch’s life wasn’t always amazing. Born and raised in Atlanta, she found herself caught between feuding parents. This ultimately led to her dropping out of school and by 18, she was a single mother.

In 1992, Courtney earned her GED from Max Hayes High School in Cleveland. She worked as a bartender to put herself through flight school and college. Now she holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Aviation (Utah Valley University), a Master of Aeronautical Science with Specializations in Aerospace Safety Systems and Space Operations (Embry Riddle Aeronautical University in Florida) and a TEFL certificate from León, Nicaragua.

The Parma Heights resident is an accomplished airline captain and flight instructor based in Washington DC. Her two children are now adults, which is good because she’s only home in Cleveland a few days a month. In addition to flying planes, she’s managing a non-profit that supports literacy organizations like Seeds of Literacy by running marathons all over the world.

Running for Education: The Start of Her Nonprofit
In 2014, Courtney had the opportunity to live in Nicaragua.

“I was blessed to experience complete submersion within the culture and the community,” she said. “But it also allowed me to witness the heartbreaking economic struggle of Nicaragua’s societal deficit of education, funds, and prevailing conditions of poverty.”

She was inspired to earn her Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) certificate. When she started her nonprofit, Runucate (run + educate), she raised money for individual scholarships in Nicaragua, for both children and adult learners.

As political instability in Nicaragua worsened, Runucate had to shift its fundraising focus to the United States in 2018. Courtney began looking for a new education program to support with her runs.

Several chance encounters with Seeds graduate/tutor/literacy advocate Margo Hudson led Courtney to Seeds. “Margo was relentless in her support of Seeds of Literacy. What better organization to support than the one that serves my local community?” she explained. And Seeds is excited for the partnership.

Seven Continents Club
“Running is therapeutic for me,” Courtney said. She recently joined the Seven Continents Club, committing herself to run a marathon on every continent within the next four years. She’s already completed the Towpath Marathon in the US, and in South Africa, she ran alongside wild game on the Savannah.

Her next run is in Bagan, Myanmar. On November 24, Courtney will run a path through central Myanmar, home of more than 2,000 temples. Sacred pagodas and beautiful temples are scattered across the plains of Bagan. The marathon course will take runners on a voyage of discovery through virtually untouched land.

And Seeds is part of the journey.

“I will donate 90% of funds raised to adult education efforts at Seeds of Literacy,” she explained. The remaining 10% will cover her expenses for the trip.

Upon her return, Courtney is committed to speaking to the students at Seeds of Literacy. “I can really relate to them,” she said. “My life wasn’t always easy, but I turned things around, and they can, too. We have a lot in common.”

Courtney is a true testament that having a GED leads to great things, and that it’s never too late to finish school.

CLICK HERE to support the Seeds of Literacy partnership with Runucate.

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