Excel Center honors grads at winter ceremony

The Excel Center, Goodwill’s tuition-free high school for adults (16 years and older) who want to earn a Core 40 diploma, will celebrate its newest cohort of graduates at its winter ceremony on Thursday, Dec. 16. According to the U.S. Census, nearly 10,000 Hamilton County residents 18 years and older lack a high school diploma, which significantly limits their job opportunities.

“Despite ongoing challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, our students continue to show up and work hard every day for the opportunity to walk across that stage with their high school diploma in hand, as well as industry certifications and college credits,” said Betsy Delgado, senior vice president and chief mission and education officer at Goodwill of Central & Southern Indiana. “They’re graduating with new skills, a career plan and the desire to contribute to their communities, while changing the future for their children and themselves.”

When Briahnna Gray enrolled at The Excel Center in Noblesville, she was living at The O’Connor House, a home for pregnant women. Her child’s father was no longer in the picture, and she was young and lacked other support. She knew the first step to getting her life back on track was finishing her education. 

In 2018, she graduated from The Excel Center and was honored with the Giver Award, which recognizes students who are determined and inspiring. She also spoke at the school’s commencement ceremony. 

“Just because we didn’t finish when everyone thought we would or when we wanted, doesn’t mean we change the goals we have set for ourselves,” Gray said. “Sometimes we just have to change the timeline we have set. It’s never about when you start but how you finish.”

With expedited curriculum and flexible scheduling, students at The Excel Center can graduate quickly and prepare for a career and postsecondary education. The Excel Center also offers students on-site child care, transportation assistance, dual-credit courses and industry-recognized certification opportunities — all at no cost.

About Goodwill of Central & Southern Indiana

Goodwill of Central & Southern Indiana changes lives every day by empowering people to increase their independence and reach their potential through education, health and employment. The organization serves 39 Indiana counties and operates more than 70 retail locations, as well as charter schools for adults and youth, a maternal-child health program, a child care center and more.