Marion Thompson beamed with pride as her daughter, Ti’Sharon Thompson, was honored with Indianapolis Metropolitan High School’s Outstanding Student Achievement Award in 2017. Ti’Sharon also earned a scholarship from Lilly Endowment Inc., which covers her full tuition for all four years of college. She is currently attending Indiana University.
In 1991, twin brothers Troy and Garrett Wilson were born three months premature, weighing barely more than two pounds each. Troy jokes that he’s older — having arrived five minutes earlier.
Getting an education does not come easy for everyone. Situations that we cannot control, such as family illness or relocating for employment, impact many individuals’ academic progress.
In 2010, Goodwill opened The Excel Center®, a public charter school for adults who want to earn an Indiana Core 40 diploma. The Excel Center is designed to address educational barriers and to accelerate coursework and career readiness through academic and life coaching, free onsite child care for young children, transportation assistance, flexible scheduling, accelerated (8-week) terms and year-round classes.
Students enrolled at The Excel Center can also earn free college credits and industry-recognized certifications.
In June 2018, Mercedes Cantrell, 22, graduated from The Excel Center in Shelbyville with a high school diploma. A mother to a young son, Cantrell now looks toward the future with hope. Read the speech she gave during her commencement ceremony below to learn more about her story.
Pency Engmawii grew up with 11 siblings in a small Burmese village where education was difficult to acquire without wealth. Education is also approached differently in her home country.
Brian Russelburg’s journey from a United States Post Office worker to Goodwill’s art appraiser wasn’t the most direct, but when it comes to your dream career, it’s better late than never.
At the age of 5, when most children are still mastering the art of doodling, Brian was drawing cartoon characters. At 10 years old, he became enthralled with a magazine his father gave him that was filled with iconic images from World War II and ended up building his own dark room for developing photos. His talents took him to the Herron School of Art in 1975, but his direction soon changed.
“The United States Postal Service offered me $11 an hour to come work for them, which was equivalent to $30 an hour today,” Brian said. “I was young and thinking about my future. It was an offer I couldn’t refuse.”
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Cory Tipton doesn’t make any excuses but admits his lack of adult guidance led him down the wrong path as a teen.