Meet Gracie

Goodwill Excel Center Graduate

“I would definitely recommend Goodwill to anyone.”

During her senior year of high school, Gracie became overwhelmed with the pressures of schoolwork and the responsibility of having a newborn baby boy. Unfortunately, her grades suffered and she ended up not graduating. In the coming years, Gracie had two more children, a girl and another boy, and being a mom of three kept her busy. But the feeling of not having a diploma was always there; and despite having great people skills and a tenacious spirit, Gracie was limited to working at places that didn’t require a diploma. It was holding her back.

“I couldn’t get a better job anywhere. I had always wanted to work at a clinic or a hospital, but I didn’t have my diploma.”

Gracie was 47 when she decided to go back to school. She did some research online and found The Goodwill Excel Center (Excel). “The enrollment cutoff age was 50, so I thought I’m jumping on this NOW because I need my diploma!” Worried that she might be the oldest student, Gracie was relieved to find that her classmates were of all ages and very accepting. “It was a great experience. Nobody judged me, and everyone got along.”

While working toward getting her diploma, Gracie was amazed to discover all the career training programs available at The Goodwill Career & Technical Academy (GCTA). She enrolled in the phlebotomy course and when she graduated a year later from Excel, she not only had the high school diploma she had yearned for, but also a Phlebotomist Certification after passing the state exam.

Today, Gracie works in a clinic with a large healthcare network and loves every minute of being a phlebotomist. She’s even in the process of completing her Medical Assistant Training at the GCTA! “Since I have over 700 clinical hours, they said I can take the online test. If I pass and get my certification, I could work for the doctors at the clinic as a Medical Assistant if I wanted to.”

Gracie is grateful for her time at Excel and the GCTA. “My life has changed dramatically, including our home life. I’m able to provide and not have to worry or struggle. I would definitely recommend Goodwill to anyone who doesn’t have their diploma, plus there are so many programs available. All the teachers were so helpful, and they were the only ones who gave me a second chance! Now I hear GCTA commercials on the radio and think, ‘Yay, I went there!’”