Celebrating The Goodwill Excel Center Class of 2017!
Last Wednesday evening, the Class of 2017 received their high school diplomas from the Goodwill Excel Center! 128 adult students walked the stage to become the third graduating class since the school opened its doors in 2014, and each year has seen more than 100 Central Texans ages 17-50 complete their education and earn a diploma.
This year’s ceremony included two student speakers who shared personal stories of courage and determination in returning to school to earn a diploma. Said Jose, Graduate Speaker, “…because they believed in me, I believed in me too. And you don’t always get that when you come back to school after so many years,” when sharing his experience with faculty and staff at Excel.
Both graduates and the audience were treated to a Commencement Address given by esteemed Texas Senator Kirk Watson. A long-time advocate for The Goodwill Excel Center, Senator Watson shared a story about how a decision made by his father to pursue higher education many years earlier, not only changed his life but the lives of his children, and even his grandchild on the way. He called the courageous effort of one person to better the lives of their family members the “Effie Effect,” after that soon-to-be born granddaughter.
Many of this year’s graduates shared similar stories; becoming role models for their children and removing the option of dropping out of high school. As Keidi, Graduate Speaker said, “I didn’t just come to The Goodwill Excel Center for myself. I came here for my kids too. I wanted to…show them that hard work really does pay off.”
Other speakers for the evening included Ted Delisi, President, Goodwill Education Board, Matt Williams, Head of School and Vice President of Education, Traci Berry, School Superintendent and Sr. Vice President of Community Engagement and Education, and Jerry Davis, President and CEO, Goodwill Central Texas. As each graduate approached the stage, family members, fellow students, Life Coaches, and teachers, cheered their accomplishment. In the words of Ms. Berry, “Never give up on what is possible -- believe in yourself, and remember that you are never alone. This is your forever family.”
Congratulations Class of 2017!!