Friday, July 21st, was just another hot summer day for most people in the Washington D.C. area. However, for 15 students at The Goodwill Excel Center, it was life changing! They wore a cap and gown for the first time and earned their high school diplomas.
While many of us have also earned our high school diplomas, what separates this group from most other high school graduates is they didn’t do it as teenagers – they did it as adults.
The Goodwill Excel Center is the first adult charter high school in the District of Columbia to award a high school diploma rather than a GED. The Excel Center opened its DC campus in August of 2016 and this is the school’s very first graduating class!
As adults, each of the students in this class had to overcome barriers to completing their education many of us never imagined while in high school. These include things like caring for children, trying to find work, or struggling with generational poverty. The graduates ranged in age from 21 to 63.
For these adult high school graduates, receiving their diplomas had been an unfulfilled dream since the day they chose to leave school – in one case more than 45 years ago.
While the reasons each graduate originally left school may differ, one goal they all shared was a burning desire to finally complete their secondary education. And thanks to The Excel Center – they have. Now there is no stopping them! What a valuable lesson to teach their children, and their children’s children. Life is filled with struggles – but nothing is insurmountable.
We congratulate not just the 15 graduates but also the entire staff of The Excel Center who made this day possible. Without a village to provide them with the critical support needed to address the individual needs of each student, this goal may have never been attained by some.
On July 21st, 15 dreams were earned and fulfilled. But The Excel Center is filled to capacity with similar dreamers just awaiting their chance to wear that cap & gown.