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<<Mission Blog Home Posted: 07-18-2019

The Goodwill Excel Center (GEC), Goodwill of Greater Washington’s unique, tuition-free adult charter high school, will be graduating its fifth class on July 19, 2019, at Lisner Auditorium on the campus of George Washington University in Washington, DC. We expect to graduate more than 70 students. 

This unique adult charter high school was modeled after the Goodwill Excel Center established in Indianapolis, IN, and predominantly serves adults who chose to leave high school as teenagers but decided to return.

Our graduates all have very personal stories to share.  Many of them serve as an inspiration to others.  We would like to introduce a few of them to you.

Our distinguished graduating class will include:

Danielle Corbin and Stephan Corbin – Husband and wife graduating together!

Danielle and Stephen Corbin came to the GEC in August 2017. They have been married for 6 years and they decided to return to high school together. As Ms. Corbin said, “we returned to better our family and inspire the youth that if we can do it, you can do it.” Together, the Corbins have raised two kids, one who is a high school graduate and one who is slated to enroll at GEC in August.

Lula Mae Thomas – 71-year-old high school graduate!

Lula Mae is 71 years young and is the spirit of the 2019 graduating class!  She had been out of high school for quite some time but was determined to come back and earn her diploma! Lula Mae is a woman of strength, faith and determination who doesn’t give up on her goals. She pushed through some frustrations, but never let anything veer her off track from her graduation. Ms. Lula Mae is an inspiring woman and she keeps her energy and vitality up by exercising every day and working hard at whatever she does.

 Yolonda Epps – Sobriety + GEC + YMCA = success!

Yolonda came to GEC In December 2017. As she says, “GEC kept me clean and sober.” Ms. Epps has battled drug addiction throughout life and since coming to GEC she has been clean. On July 1st, she celebrated three years of sobriety. Ms. Epps has 4 kids and her youngest attends the YMCA child development center offered at the GEC. She will earn her high school diploma on July 19th and she has obtained her Security certifications here as well. She has also obtained full-time employment in the Security field as of June 4th and has started working while completing her final credits.

Teriana Cox – Strength, perseverance, and determination!

Teriana found out about GEC through a friend. She left high school in 2014 to enter a workforce program. However, she always wanted her diploma! Teriana was born with cerebral palsy and has been in a wheelchair since she was born. She has never let her disability stop her from anything. Teriana is also a motivational speaker and advocate for others with disabilities. She says she has learned to communicate with people at the Excel Center. Teriana plans to attend college and is currently completing applications for a fall start.

Novelette Lewis – From Jamaica to DC to GEC!

Ms. Novelette came to DC from Jamaica in 2016. She wanted to be reunited her mom, who already lived in DC, and she wanted more opportunity, which she felt that the US offered. When she arrived in DC, Novelette realized she needed her high school diploma, something which she had not finished in Jamaica. She went online and searched and found GEC! She enrolled in 2017 and is graduating this July!  Ms. Novelette plans to enroll in Montgomery College. She wants to be a child behavioral therapist and work with children and their families.

Juwan Wade – Focused and on a mission!

Juwan came to GEC from DCPS schools. Juwan is 19 years old and has a passion and aspiration for being a barbershop owner. After GEC, he plans to attend barbershop school and earn his barbering license. At GEC, Juwan has become a leader. He has a quiet energy about him, but he has opened up through his time at GEC and allowed his drive and determination to be an example for others.

While these stories represent only a handful of our July graduates, we couldn’t be more proud of each of them.  They serve as an inspiration to everyone at Goodwill and those they touch every day.  Their success will even impact future students who they will never meet, because those students will look at these graduates as examples of what can be.

We hope that you’ll continue to support adult charter high schools like The Goodwill Excel Center.  A human being is never too old to learn. 

To read more about the Goodwill Excel Center visit

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