Student with Asperger Syndrome and ADHD Excels at Goodwill’s Adult High School
From Homeless to Business Owner, Meet Keanna Murphy
Keanna Murphy, 29, is a mother of four children living in Indianapolis. She is also a professional baker who owns her own business. With plans to earn a college degree, Keanna seems to have it all figured out. However, just a decade ago, her life looked quite different than it does today.
Mohammed Alhamwi’s journey to The Excel Center®, Goodwill’s high school for adults, begins more than 6,000 miles away in his home country of Syria. Like many Syrians, his family was forced to flee as a result of the country’s civil war. As refugees in Jordan, they weren’t permitted to pursue employment or education which left them unable to build a life there. It seemed as if Mohammed’s family was in a perpetual limbo. They connected with Exodus Refugee Project and steadily worked for a more permanent placement. After several years in this limbo state, they received word that they were being placed in the U.S.
Novah Norris Campbell was a junior in high school when she learned she was pregnant. At 14 weeks, she enrolled in Goodwill’s Nurse-Family Partnership, a program that pairs first-time, low-income moms with a registered nurse who helps them achieve a healthy pregnancy and provide competent care for their babies.
Goodwill of Central & Southern Indiana recently hosted more than 700 volunteers from Eli Lilly and Company, a global pharmaceutical company headquartered in Indianapolis, for Lilly’s Global Day of Service. This initiative is one of the largest single-day volunteer programs of any global enterprise.
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.
Briahnna Gray graduated from The Excel Center® in Noblesville in February 2018. She graduated with a free job certification from The Excel Center with plans to earn an associate degree in physical therapy. At the graduation ceremony, Briahnna was honored with The Giver Award, which the school gives to students who are determined and inspiring. The award recipient was also a student speaker at her graduation ceremony and shared her journey with the community. Read her speech below:
“My Name is Briahnna Gray, and I’d be lying to you if I stood up here and tried to make you believe that fairy tales are real, and this was the easiest journey I have ever experienced. If it was easy, I wouldn’t be here at The Excel Center on this day getting my high school diploma. But who am I to tell you that it wasn’t? Well, I’m walking proof. So sit tight in your chairs and open your ears because, boy do I have a story to tell you.
Eskenazi Health is a champion of Goodwill’s NFP, evidenced by the fact that they made 851 referrals in 2017! Our partnership complements their own Healthy Families initiative, a free, community-based program that supports Marion County families with newborns.