Meet Tamika

Excel Center Graduate

“For anyone wanting to finish their high school education, the Excel Center is an excellent choice. You have to take that first step.”

Tamika felt like she had it all. She had a stable job that she enjoyed; great children and life was going well. Then everything she had worked for was gone.

Tamika worked in hotel management, something she thought she would be doing forever. But when the hotel where she worked sold, she was phased out of her job. Tamika ended up training the person who replaced her. “I had become comfortable and complacent, and I never had a plan. You don’t think anything like that will ever happen,” she said.

Without a job or a plan, Tamika didn’t know what she would do next. “I went back into survival mode. I started applying for assistance and…just trying to make sure my girls had the necessities,” Tamika said.

While looking for work, Tamika began to see how much not having a high school diploma was impacting her opportunities. “After my Dad passed away when I was young, I never had a normal childhood. I don’t remember just having that normal little girl’s life. That’s why education wasn’t a priority then. It’s just working, take care of yourself, and be an adult.”

Tamika learned about The Goodwill Excel Center through the Texas Workforce Commission. “Before I could take that next step and get another job to support my kids, I had to get my high school diploma.” When she first arrived at the school, she encountered a lot of younger people, and wasn’t sure Excel was for her. Tamika soon found out that The Goodwill Excel Center isn’t your typical high school. “It is tailored for adults,” she said, “I started talking to the staff and the teachers. It became almost like a family. The inclusive culture, the other students, you share your stories, and you find out how similar everyone is.” At the Goodwill Excel Center Tamika not only learned the importance of education, she fell in love with education.

Tamika graduated as Salutatorian of her class, was recipient of the Dr. Billy Harden Leadership Award, recognizing students who have made an outstanding impact on the entire school community, and gave the Graduate Commencement Address during the graduation ceremony. “It was beyond amazing,” said Tamika. She now serves a mentor for other adult students, making sure to help them get past any hesitation they feel like she did when she first walked through the door.

Today, Tamika is working at St. David’s Hospital managing their Services Department, a position she wouldn’t have been able to secure without her high school diploma. She’s also continuing her education and plans to pursue healthcare management once she earns her undergraduate degree.

For anyone wanting to finish their high school education, Tamika says The Goodwill Excel Center is the excellent choice. “You have to take that first step.”