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#CentralCouple Nick Terrel and Jessica Stretch Exhibit Great Passion for Future

Central Washington University alumni, and featured #CentralCouple, Nick Terrel (25) and Jessica Stretch (26), both came to Central with open-minds and adventure seeking spirits. By Spring of 2014 they both found themselves walking across the stage at commencement; Nick completing his bachelor’s degree in Art and Jessica completing her bachelor’s in Special Education.


Following commencement, Terrel started working for his father’s construction company and soon realized where his true passion stemmed – creating handmade furniture and home decor using the wood from century old homes, buildings and barns across the Pacific Northwest.


When you ask Terrel about his phenomenal woodworking abilities, his eyes light up and you can just feel the immense amount of passion he has for what he does. “I’ve always wanted to have my own wood shop, so when I was working for my father’s construction company after graduating CWU I would take old wood off jobsites to make wall hangings and tables. I posted some projects on my social media pages and word started spreading from there.” Terrel said.


Stretch, currently working at Meadows Elementary as a Preschool Special Education Teacher, attributes her drive to help others in the classroom to her professors at Central. “I had two amazing professors in the special education department who taught me life lessons that I implement into my classroom daily. Their knowledge and experience in the field helped better prepare myself as an educator.” Stretch said.


Not only were both of these Central alumni able to discover what they were each truly passionate about during their time at Central, but they were able to find love in the most unexpected of places.


“We met on Instagram!” Jessica laughed. “We had gone hiking at a local spot up in the hills of Ellensburg when the wildflowers were blooming. We both posted similar pictures on Instagram and Nick saw it under his explore feed. We started following each other and met shortly after!”


Terrel attributes his passion and his drive to what he was able to learn about himself while attending Central. “My experience at CWU has influenced me to take a risk and do what I am passionate about. I knew I could just work a 9-5 job and get the bills paid but there wasn’t much excitement in that. I got an Art degree hoping I would be able to go in this direction and work for myself building furniture. After a lot of hard work, my dream became a reality.” Terrel said.


“My favorite memory is of Ellensburg itself. Not only is the town fun, but the hills, hiking and outdoors were the best. Even if you get stuck in the snow and have to get a local to pull you out!” Stretch added.


When asked what his favorite project has been so far, Terrel says he was given the opportunity to make six tables for the Allen Institute of Artificial Intelligence, funded by Paul Allen in Seattle; one of the pieces included an 11-foot conference table that was made of reclaimed wood lath from a home on Capitol Hill, built in 1924.

While Jessica and Nick are planning for their futures together as husband and wife, they fondly reminisce about their time spent together in Ellensburg and how Central led them to one another, and to their passions.

“The small town feel of Ellensburg is our favorite memory as a couple at Central. It was a great town to spend a few years living and learning about life without our families around. We were both able to grow as individuals and know what we truly wanted in life.” Stretch and Terrel said.


Nick and Jessica look back fondly on their time at Central where they were both able to find what they were truly passionate about, and find one another. They are currently working towards furthering their careers and planning their wedding in Leavenworth on July 8, 2017. But for right now, with their two dogs Maia and Leo, they are living and loving life the #CentralCouple way.


Story by: Mia Patterson, UA Communications Graduate Assistant

Photos courtesy of: Nick Terrel

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