If you didn’t know her story, Clarissa Dunn would look like an average, 21-year old college student, but the truth is, she has worked extremely hard to get on the path of higher education. She dropped out of high school her freshman year after becoming pregnant. When she enrolled at The Excel Center®, Goodwill’s high school for adults, she had few transferable credits and was completely starting over.
Clarissa dropped out of high school during her freshman year. She was pregnant with her daughter and knew she would need to focus and take care of her. Not long after, her brother recommended that she attend The Excel Center, a school that provides
Clarissa’s favorite subject – also one of her strongest – is math. Even as a student, she tutored her peers who were struggling. Four years later, Clarissa graduated, earning her high school diploma, but she wasn’t finished with her educational pursuits.
After hearing a guest speaker talk about the Associate Accelerated Program (ASAP) at Ivy Tech Community College, Clarissa set a new goal to earn an associate's degree. She expects to graduate from the program in one year.
“I go to school 40 hours a week. It’s really fast,” Clarissa said.
An unreliable car has made her path to education more difficult. At times, she struggled to get to school because of her car's tendency to not make it from point A to point B.
Clarissa applied for and was awarded a McClelland Scholarship which assists participants in Goodwill programs with barriers to furthering their education. She used the scholarship to fix her vehicle.
“I deserved to be a McClelland Scholar because I worked really hard to get where I am and the only thing holding me back was transportation,” Clarissa said.
Clarissa is an advocate of The Excel Center and has recommended it to other people who have dropped out of high school. Clarissa is on track to graduate from Ivy Tech in 2018. After she graduates, she sees herself continuing her education by pursuing a master’s degree.
“You have to want your education before you can get it,” she said.