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.
Camree Banks graduated from The Excel Center® West in February 2018. Through her hard work and perseverance, she was able to overcome various obstacles. Her hard work paid off because she graduated Cum Laude and as a 21st Century Scholar. Camree plans to attend college in the fall to study photography, film and production. She shared her story at the graduation ceremony:
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.
Cordarryl Gray, 29, enrolled at The Excel Center® Meadows in April 2017. He quickly proved that he was motivated to succeed.
Student with barriers finds success at The Excel Center
Although Courtney Person earned a certificate of completion in high school, a learning disability prevented her from receiving a diploma. Courtney studied dental careers at the J. Everett Light Career Center as a high school student, but without a diploma, she could not pursue her plan to become a dental hygienist. It was a devastating blow.