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Goodwill helps Hoosier adults get high school diplomas for free

Adults get high school diplomas for free at Excel Center in Indianapolis

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Goodwill of Southern and Central Indiana has public charter high schools — they’re called the Excel Center — for adults to get their high school diploma.

There are six centers in Marion County and 15 across the state.

Itzl Stacy Martinez, 19, told News 8 she’s been enrolled in the program for more than a year and is graduating next month.

“I lived in Mexico for two years. I went in 2016 came back in 2018 because Mexico was not offering the education that my parents wanted for me. I knew I wasn’t going to college over there. It was way too expensive for just one semester and my mom was like, ‘Hey, I think you need to go back to your country and figure it out because I don’t want you to have a life like I did,’” Martinez said.

Martinez adds she not only earned a high school diploma, but some college credit and is now a certified clinical medical assistant.

“I’m trying to get my externship, do my 160 hours and start working after I graduate so then I can figure out if the medical field is for me,” Martinez said. “I already got a full ride to IU (Indiana University) Bloomington thanks to the Excel Center.”

Goodwill opened its newest center last summer. More than 300 students are enrolled at each campus.

“We’re always open where there’s a need,” said Betsy Delgado, vice president of admissions and education for Goodwill Central and Southern Indiana. “Some communities within Indianapolis have 50% of the folks that live there don’t have a high school diploma, so where a community says can you come and help work on that we will do that.”

Five eight-week semesters equal a school year. Students can earn their high school diploma, some college credit and postsecondary education. Each campus offers transportation needs and has a child care center. Delgado said 50% of students have children. Martinez says any Excel Center will help Hoosiers get on the right path to success.

Martinez said, “They were there during the entire time. They were like ‘There’s so much you can be’ and that is the truth. You can be so much more and, if you stick to this program, I think they will definitely help you see that,” Martinez said.

Click here to learn more about the Excel Center.