Goodwill Education Initiatives Thrives in 2021

    [fa icon="calendar"] Jun 11, 2021 8:30:00 AM / by Jennifer Rendant

    Jennifer Rendant

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    Goodwill’s education division proudly celebrates over 300 new high school graduates this month! Indianapolis Met High School celebrated their newest class of graduates on June 5, and The Excel Center®, Goodwill’s free high school for adults, will recognize its Class of 2021 across 15 ceremonies this weekend. 

    Designed to serve individuals who left high school before graduating, The Excel Center meets students where they are in their educational journey and provides an expedited and rigorous curriculum so learners can earn credits quickly and achieve a Core 40 diploma. With wrap-around services in place, such as life coaching, on site child care and transportation assistance, The Excel Center ensures graduates have a pathway to success beyond high school by offering free college credit courses and industry-recognized certifications.

    The COVID-19 pandemic brought challenges to students and schools across the world, yet The Excel Center was able to quickly adapt to the evolving safety regulations and provide rigorous, high-quality instruction throughout the 2020 - 21 school year.

    “2020 was a year to remember and full of things I am sure none of us could ever have imagined we would face,” said Daytona Cossey, an Excel Center Class of 2021 graduate. “I was in my last few weeks of class when the COVID-19 shutdown happened. I also had to navigate my fourth-grade daughter's online learning journey with her.”

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    In addition to offering students continued coursework while stay-at-home orders were in effect, The Excel Center also provided free laptops, Wi-Fi hotspots, and other resources to all students who needed increased access to technology. 

    “Through the entire pandemic, we had a wonderful team at the school to help guide us through it in the best way they knew how,” said Daytona. “It was a learning curve for everyone. We all had to learn new strengths, not just for ourselves but for our kids, our loved ones and our friends. No one’s journey is exactly the same, but the things we all went through brought us closer together.”

    Daytona, 28, will graduate this week with a Core 40 high school diploma, an industry-recognized certification and a 3.07 GPA. She plans to attend college later this year. 

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    Indianapolis Metropolitan High School, Goodwill’s high school for traditional-age students, also recently celebrated its graduating class on Saturday, June 5. With students being recognized from both 2020 and 2021, Indy Met also awarded college credits and industry-recognized certifications to students to ensure they enroll into college or enters a career with a sustainable living-wage post-graduation.

    Designed to serve students who are experiencing circumstances that may become barriers to their education, Indy Met supports students who are experiencing teen pregnancy or parenting; involved in foster care; homeless; identified for special education; involved with criminal justice and more.

    “The coronavirus took away our loved ones, reshaped our economy and changed our world forever,” said Indy Met graduate Desiree Segraves. “It was during this trying time that we got a firsthand view of how awesome the teachers at Indianapolis Metropolitan High School could be. They became our coaches, our cheerleaders and our confidants.”

    Desiree graduates this year at the age of 16. She has a son, Kameron, who was born on her first day of school at Indy Met.

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    “The staff told us we were strong, told us we were capable and told us we will finish. It is because of the faculty and administration of Indianapolis Metropolitan high school that we are crossing the finishing line of high school,” Desiree said.

    Both Indy Met and The Excel Center provide students with increased access to Goodwill programs and services, such as enrollment into Nurse-Family Partnership®, a program designed to support first-time moms, or employment within our retail division for themselves or their family members. 

    We proudly recognize the efforts of our students, alumni and staff throughout the 2020 - 21 school year and commend their hard work and dedication to completing their educational goals. To learn more about Goodwill’s schools, visit goodwillindy.org/education. 

    Topics: The Excel Center, Indianapolis Metropolitan High School, Education

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