For adults, returning to high school can be a difficult task especially when life’s obstacles arise. However, with the right support, they can still thrive in a high school setting to reach their ultimate goal—graduation. Paige Mallory, 28, learned about The Excel Center®, Goodwill’s high school for adults, after she saw a flier. In fall 2016, she decided to enroll to better her life and her children’s lives.
“I want to do something with my life, and I want my kids to see that I am successful,” Paige said. “I don’t want to rely on anyone else to help or take care of my children.”
At The Excel Center, students receive the support they need to reduce barriers to education such as transportation, child care and life coaching.
“The Excel Center sets you up for success,” Paige said. “If you need help with anything, you ask someone and they figure out a way to help you.”
Paige would have originally graduated in 2007. She wasn’t very motivated with school at the time and found herself getting in a lot of trouble. Returning to school after numerous years wasn’t easy.
“It’s different coming back after nine years and being on a schedule,” Paige said. “The Excel Center was an escape from everything going on in life.”
During her initial months at The Excel Center, Paige was pregnant and juggling motherhood with two sons, including one with Autism. Just weeks before her daughter was born, Paige and her husband separated. This obstacle caused her to miss three weeks of school. However, the staff didn’t let her slip away.
“My teacher Mike told me to just get here, and that’s exactly what I did,” Paige said. “The staff really felt like family, and I was never embarrassed to talk to anyone about my personal life or school because they were so understanding.”
The Excel Center’s resources and culture were essential to Paige continuing her journey towards a high school diploma.
“I couldn’t have done it without the child care center. I thought I was going to have to pay, so having this free resource was a huge help,” Paige said. “The staff even allowed my son’s therapist to meet me at school when needed so I didn’t have to miss a lot of class.”
During her time at The Excel Center, Paige received an award for good grades and adaptability. In February 2018, Paige graduated from The Excel Center in Richmond with a certification in higher technology. She plans to continue working and will pursue a bachelor’s degree in American Sign Language.
To learn more about The Excel Center, visit excelcenter.org.