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.
With 14 campuses across Indiana, The Excel Center® — Goodwill’s high school for adults — is filled with many highly-qualified instructors, coaches, special education coordinators, paraprofessionals and additional support staff that are dedicated to leading students toward success. Mark Van Dyk, a humanities instructor at The Excel Center on Michigan St. in Indianapolis, is a shining example of the passion and commitment that the staff of each school possesses.
Jessica Monroe left high school when she was 16 years old. Originally from Muncie, Indiana, she dealt with several barriers at school, including a lack of support from peers.
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.
At 17 years old, many teenagers are focused on things like prom and hanging out with friends. Sarah Siegel’s teenage years were spent a little differently, however, when she suddenly found herself living on her own during her sophomore year of high school.
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.
DeShawn Minor reflects on his early youth as a difficult time. He didn’t fully understand how his actions impacted those around him, especially his mom and younger siblings. He describes how he had anger issues and “goofed off” a lot at school, resulting in several suspensions and finally, expulsion. He was placed into a group home as a teen and an alternative school in another city.