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At first glance, it looks like an ordinary classroom.

But at the Excel Center, these aren’t ordinary students.

They’re all adults who have dropped out of high school the first time and are back and ready to graduate.

“This diploma is the same as anyone would get from any high school any senior would get walking across the stage in spring they are carrying with them a high school diploma from the state of Indiana,” explained Betsy Delgado, vice president of mission and education at Goodwill.

According to the US census bureau, over 12% of Hoosier working age adults lack a high school diploma.

That’s why the Excel Center is working with adult students to give them the opportunity to pick up where they left off in school–and it’s all for free.

“The first thing we say to the students when they arrive to us is congratulations because they’ve made a major decision in their life to come back to high school,” said and William Durham, school director of the Excel Center at the Meadows campus.

The center also provides free childcare, transportation assistance and dual credit courses, which allows students to focus on completing their course work.

“They can come here feel comfortable, know their children are happy and safe in childcare, and  know they will have a bus pass all week long, and also through the weekend,” added Delgado.

To date, over 5,500 adults have graduated from the Excel Center. These centers are located all over the state in 39 counties. If you want to find out more info about the Excel Center, click here.