Jaquala Berry’s Story
Raised by a single mom on the eastside of Indianapolis, life was not always easy for Perci Robertson. Outside influences and the added responsibility of working to help care for his siblings thrust Perci into adulthood at a young age. With his mother often working long hours to support their family, life at home lacked structure, and he struggled to maintain his focus and motivation in the classroom.
When Genesis Ortiz withdrew from high school during her senior year, she never imagined that she’d be pursuing a teaching degree nearly 10 years later.
India Daye was a senior in high school when she first learned she was pregnant. She lacked stable housing and worked part-time at a fast-food restaurant through her pregnancy to help support her family.
First-time mom Arian Baker, 33, learned about Goodwill’s Nurse-Family Partnership through her obstetrician. As a medical student she knew that maternal and infant mortality rates are much higher among African-American women. She worked with her nurse to educate herself about the changes that were happening to her body and managing stress that could adversely affect her developing baby.
Erica Webb’s first major barrier to achieving independence was becoming a mother at 17 years old. Although she successfully graduated from high school, a series of setbacks negatively impacted her ability to provide for her growing family.
Martha Moraga worked hard to raise her four children while earning a high school diploma at The Excel Center®, Goodwill’s high school for adults. She strives to be a role model for all of her children - with the goal of becoming a medical assistant - and her teachers believe she already sets a great example.
The Excel Center®, a tuition-free high school that provides adults the opportunity to earn a Core 40 diploma, celebrated over 300 graduates at its winter graduation ceremonies on February 14 and 15. Since opening its first location in 2010, The Excel Center has seen consistent growth, including the expansion to 14 locations throughout central and southern Indiana.
Amber Copley is a proud high school graduate at the age of 23. She initially dropped out of school when she was a junior in high school, at the age of 16, due to emotional and financial difficulties.