Chasing Dreams with The Excel Center

    [fa icon="calendar"] Apr 30, 2024 3:00:00 PM / by Noelle Gray

    Noelle Gray

    After working different jobs at minimum wage, Allen Kessinger realized that he had a dream of becoming an Indianapolis police officer – but he needed a high school diploma to apply for a position and begin training. A Core 40 diploma would allow Allen to earn a family-sustaining income and grow in his career.

    “The east side district needs help really bad,” said Allen. “So I talked to the police chief and told him that I want to become a cop.”

    Allen’s drive to become a police officer led him to The Excel Center®, Goodwill’s high school for adults. He was the first student to be enrolled at the location on Southeast Street in Indianapolis. 


    “I come here every single day,” said Allen. “I was the first one here. The staff greeted me with love. I call these people my family. They're going to get me my diploma.”

    Allen values The Excel Center’s enthusiasm for his learning and success. He appreciates the one-on-one attention he receives from both his teachers and life coaches, something he felt that his first high school experience lacked. In addition to academic support, Allen also received assistance from the Justice-Involved Program, designed to help students who have experiences with the criminal justice system navigate their current barriers.

    Before enrolling at The Excel Center, Allen and his family were living in unstable housing; by working with the Justice-Involved Program, he was able to secure a better home for his family. 

    “The program got me approved and out of a hotel room and into a 4-bedroom house,” said Allen. “After I received the good news about that, my wife and I cried. I gave everybody a hug when I came back to school.”


    Currently, Allen and his family are settling into their new home. As he works toward earning his diploma, his family has been a great motivating force.

    “My wife and kids have supported me through all of it,” said Allen. “They tell me that I'm doing a good job and not to give up.”

    Allen is expected to graduate in February 2025.

    “I’m 39, coming back to school to fulfill my dream,” said Allen. “Nobody is stopping me. It’s a big step, and I’ve got this.”

    Topics: Employment, The Excel Center, Education, Goodwill Education

    Noelle Gray

    Written by Noelle Gray

    Subscribe to Email Updates

    Lists by Topic

    see all

    Posts by Topic

    see all

    Recent Posts