Mier Family Shares the College Experience at ECC
Sarah, Ethan and Ryan Mier may be on different educational journeys, but to reach their destinations, the mother and her sons are taking the same path — East Central College.
Sarah, 42, is the mother of Ethan, 21, and Ryan, 18. The family of ECC students live in St. Clair with, their father and husband, Andrew Mier.
“I love attending ECC with my boys — this kind of thing doesn’t happen very often, and it wasn’t planned at all,” Sarah said. “I never thought that I would be going back to school with my children.”
Sarah will be walking across the stage at the ECC Commencement ceremony this Saturday, May 14, while Ethan plans to take one more course at ECC this summer. Ryan will attend ECC through the 2022-23 school year.
Sarah, the president Phi Delta Chapter of the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society, is studying social science and she plans to attend Central Methodist University to work toward a degree in social work.
Ethan’s path is leading him to Webster University, where he will pursue a degree in Computer Animation. Ethan recently was part of the ECC Theatre Department’s “Puffs” and he is a member of the Art Club.
Ryan expects to graduate from ECC in the spring of 2023 and then he will pursue a degree mechanical engineering from Missouri S&T in Rolla.
“All our paths have been different here at ECC and each of us have had different struggles and strengths,” Sarah said.
“I am grateful that ECC has been a part of our journey together,” she added. “All three of us have been able to grow together academically and as family. I am blessed that we had this unique opportunity.”
None of the Miers have had classes together this semester, but they still would see each other on campus, which is, “always a nice surprise and makes my day,” Sarah said.
“We’re always excited to see each other because we don’t have any classes in the same buildings at the same times,” said Ethan.
“My mom and I only interact when I walk past her in the student center,” Ryan added. “She often just asks how I’m doing and sends me on my way.”
Ethan noted that he and his mother had one class together last summer, an online art appreciation class.
“We were able to study together over the summer,” he said. “We were able to help each other study with some parts and help with different forum posts.”
The Mier Home
With three college students under one roof, it is easy to understand why the Mier home looks similar to a dorm room at times.
“Our home a lot of days looks like a library spilled over into it, or it looks like an art studio,” Sarah said. “There are always backpacks and books on the kitchen table, and I would not have it another way — I know at some time, I am going to miss it.”
She added that the challenges of going to college fulltime is made easier with the support of her husband.
“I think it’s great,” Andrew said. “Sarah and the boys are going through and experiencing a lot of the same things and they relate to each other very well.
“I am happy to support them in any way I can — whether it be extra chores around the house or running to the store at the last minute for art supplies,” he added. “This is time together that they will look back fondly on.”
Sarah noted that experiencing college alongside her sons offers a unique insight that she may not have otherwise.
“I am beyond proud of my two sons,” she commented. “They are two vastly different people, yet just as equally smart and talented.
“Ethan’s creative mind blows me away, he can see the beauty in anything,” Sarah added. “He has a God-given gift that will take him far in life. He makes me laugh every day.”
For Ryan, Sarah said, his knowledge, skill and curiosity of computers and technology is incredible.
“Ryan’s ability to look into a computer, break it apart and then want to know how that works and program it to do more is awe inspiring,” she said. “He will be writing programs to better the world one day.”
Although Sarah recognizes how bright her children are, what impresses her the most is how they treat others.
“What I am most proud of is that both my boys are kind, caring, and compassionate human beings,” she said. “They will put all things aside when I am having a bad day just to sit with me and make me laugh.”
All three of the Mier students are St. Clair High School graduates. Sarah was part of the Class of 1998; and Ethan and Ryan graduated from SCHS in 2019 and 2021, respectively.
Sarah joined the U.S. Airforce after high school. She met Andrew Mier while they both were stationed at Littlerock Airforce Base in Jacksonville, Ark. After Ethan was born, Sarah stayed home while Andrew continued to serve in the military.
As is typical with families in the military, Sarah added, the Miers moved often.
“With moving around so much and raising a family, school was never an option,” she said.
However, her opportunity would come after Andrew retired from the Airforce and then earned a degree in early childhood education.
“As soon as Andrew was done it was my turn to go to school, and it just so happened to be at the same time my boys were also attending college,” Sarah said.
Initially, Sarah planned to take online courses, just as her husband had done.
“I was also going in that direction, and at the last minute I changed my mind and decided that in-person learning at ECC was a better decision for me,” she said.
Sarah noted that in-person classes offered many more experience and opportunities than online only courses could.
“I could not be happier with the decision that I made,” she added. “The education, connections and experience here at ECC has been amazing.”