The Excel Center Celebrates Winter Graduates

    [fa icon="calendar"] Mar 27, 2024 9:15:00 AM / by Jenny Kakasuleff

    Jenny Kakasuleff


    The Excel Center®, Goodwill’s tuition-free high school for adults, recently celebrated 339 graduates during its winter ceremonies. Designed to empower individuals to overcome adversity and reach their potential, The Excel Center provides a unique opportunity for adult learners to earn an Indiana Core 40 high school diploma.

    Amidst the challenges many residents face in Indiana, where more than 400,000 working-age adults lack a high school diploma, The Excel Center offers individualized support and a path to success. The Excel Center has celebrated thousands of graduates who have joined the workforce or are continuing their education at local universities.



    Children whose parents didn’t complete high school are twice as likely not to graduate themselves, but The Excel Center offers adults, like Tammi Burrus, a chance to return to high school and break that generational cycle. 

    Tammi, a graduate of The Excel Center, had her high school experience cut short when she became pregnant at the age of 16. 

    “I was working at a job where I knew I could do well and move forward, but I didn’t feel worthy,” said Tammi. “I didn’t even have a diploma, how could I be a supervisor?”




    She recalls sitting at graduations for family members and friends and feeling proud of them but also filled with grief for never experiencing it herself. Her turning point came after hearing about the experience of her niece – a graduate of The Excel Center. Tammi was initially apprehensive and nervous, but she quickly felt seen and welcomed.

    “The teachers are so in-tune with students,” said Tammi. “They know how to work with students to ensure lessons are understood, and there is never any judgment.”

    Not only did she earn all of her credits early, she also completed a pharmacy technician certification and was invited to speak at her graduation. 



    “I finally felt that feeling that I had been missing,” she recalled. “I even had a woman stop me after the ceremony to tell me I had inspired her to go back to school.”

    And she wasn’t the only one. Tammi’s oldest son, Brendan, also graduated from The Excel Center, and like his mother, he was selected as the class speaker.

    More than 8,000 students have graduated from The Excel Center's 16 locations in central and southern Indiana. Each location provides support services such as on-site child care, transportation assistance, college credit and industry-recognized certification courses – all at no cost.


    Through our access to additional Goodwill programs such as employment and disability services, a criminal reentry program and services for first-time mothers, The Excel Center is able to help remove barriers to education and empower individuals to achieve their goals.

    To learn more about The Excel Center, or to enroll, visit our website: 


    Topics: The Excel Center, Education, Mission Awareness, Multi-gen impact, Goodwill Education

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