Excel Center Graduation

Recently, we celebrated the Excel Center graduation at the Gary Campus.  The Excel Center is a free adult public high school that offers the opportunity to earn an Indiana Core 40 High School Diploma.

While earning a high school diploma, students earn college credits.  A variety of industry-recognized certifications are also available.

Mission of the Excel Center

The mission of The Excel Center is to provide adults the opportunity and support to earn a high school diploma and pursue post-secondary education. 

The Excel Center is a FREE high school for adults 18 and over.  Our schools “meet students where they are”. We do this by providing a flexible structure and supportive relationships.  We partner with students to manage work, life, and family concerns as they achieve their educational goals.

We’d like to introduce you to 2 of our recent graduates from the Excel Center Gary Campus Graduation.  First, Darius Dukes:

Darius Dukes, 26, of Gary, was one of  two student speakers at Excel Center’s second graduation ceremony in Gary, IN.  Darius has overcome numerous obstacles to get to graduation day.  He has tried different high school programs in the past, but something was missing.  When he came to the Excel Center, he finally felt at home.  He plans to pursue a career in carpentry. 

And, we’d like to introduce you to Christina Godwin:

June 2019 Grad Christina Godwin

Christina Godwin, 32, of Gary, was the second student speaker at the Excel Center’s graduation ceremony in Gary, IN.  Christina became the matriarch of her family by taking care of her mother, in addition to her own family.  She decided to do something for herself and finish getting her high school diploma.  Her hard work has paid off. She plans to start college this fall.

We are so proud of all of our recent graduates! We wish you the best of luck in your life, and career!

Learn more about our school here. We would love to see you at the next graduation!  Go here for information on how to enroll. 

Excel Center South Bend – Justin’s Graduation Story


Graduation is a big deal at the South Bend Excel CenterThe Excel Center is a tuition free high school for adults. You may have heard some of our stories. The unique mission of the Excel Center is the driving force behind student’s success. The Excel Center meets students where they are in life. That’s why we want you to know Justin’s graduation story.

When you commit to coming here,

we commit to getting you there.

Following is the story of one of our students, Justin. Below is the speech he delivered at graduation. His words tell a story you need to hear.

When I first came to the Excel Center I was just trying to kill some time.  

Some students come into the Excel Center all motivated to come get their diplomas, but that wasn’t me. I was just coming here ‘cause I had nothing else better to do.

You see, I had an injury that caused me to lose my job, affected what I was able to do and not do, and changed my life in a way that I was not expecting.

While I was injured, someone I know advised me to just go back to high school and wait for my injuries to heal. And that is what I decided to do – I came to the Excel Center.

Once I came here, I really started to enjoy the learning environment.  The atmosphere and people were so friendly, and they had great attitudes.

After a while, I began to discover that their attitude started to change my attitude.

I started getting good grades which made me feel motivated to get more.

Doing good in school really raised my confidence to a level it was not before. Gradually my love of education seemed to creep back into my life.  This was something that regular high school could not seem to do.

All the teachers and staff have been so awesome. They have been more than helpful.

I am thankful I got to meet so many great staff and students, they are the type of people you don’t get to meet often in life.

Here I stand, months later, with a solid 3.5 GPA, and with aspirations and a direction that I would not have thought possible a short while ago.

If you would have told me 6 months ago that I would be sitting after school in Jeff’s class writing a graduation speech, with a SAT study guide in front of me, and thinking about plans to go to college and start a real career, I would have said, “You’re crazy.”

However, here I am, with a variety of paths open to me that didn’t exist before I started here.  I’m not sure where life will take me, but it is a much brighter future having gone to the Excel Center.

What started out as a place to kill some time ended up being a transformative experience for me, as I think it has been for all the students you see here before you.

A transformative experience.

This is what Goodwill does.  Through your generous donations to stores, and the dollars you spend shopping, we are able to do this.  You give us the ability to offer transformative experiences.  Experiences on the path to obtaining meaningful employment.  We love what we do, and we hope you do too.

Excel Center South Bend – Congrats Jan ’19 Graduates

a story of perseverance

The Excel Center is a free Indiana charter high school diploma program with campuses in South Bend, Hammond and Gary. We offer high school classes to achieve a Core 40 diploma. We are a school designed to help adult students excel!

The school offers a curriculum with academic and personal resources. Therefore, we meet you where you are in life.  At the Excel Center you receive face-to-face instruction. A flexible class schedule and supportive relationships help you manage work, life and family responsibilities. Upon completion, you’ll have a Core 40 High School Diploma, not a GED! We have campuses in South Bend, Hammond and Gary Indiana.

Excel Center South Bend
Excel Center South Bend – January 2019 Graduation

The best part of the Excel Center is graduation. During this time of celebration, we come together and recognize student success. In January we celebrated this group of high school graduates in South Bend.

Each graduate has a story of overcoming obstacles. Stories of starting over, of persevering, of exceling! An example of these stories is one we would like to share with you.

Excel Center South Bend student was an immigrant, now she is a College Student

Imagine starting high school as an immigrant and now being a college student. This is the path of one of our Excel Center South Bend graduates. She started class at the Excel Center the day we opened in September, 2015. At the time, she spoke very little English and was working toward American citizenship. Of course, the start of her high school education was step-1. Beginning with no credits, she was placed in remedial classes in math and English.

While going to school she worked as a server at a Mexican restaurant. However, her hope was to gain employment where she would have an opportunity to practice English. So, she applied for a job at an English speaking chain restaurant. Through determination , she got the job.

Today she has completed the CORE 40 diploma program. Most importantly, she walked the stage in her cap and gown for graduation. While her classmates were celebrating, she was on her way to another milestone. On the same day as her graduation she drove to Chicago to attend a ceremony for her American citizenship!

She continues to push forward to better her education and build a new life. Consequently, her goal is to finish college. Currently she is in her second semester in college. Her determination has led to being on the Dean’s List in her first semester; and to that, we say: Congratulations!

Congratulations Excel Center Grads!

We are proud to congratulate the Excel Center Class of 2018!

These students took full advantage of the life coaches, teaching and opportunities offered at the Excel Center. 

What is the Excel Center?  The mission of the Excel Center is to provide adults the opportunity and support to earn a high school diploma and pursue a post-secondary education while developing career paths that offer greater employment and career growth opportunities. Our schools meet students where they are, by providing a flexible structure, child care and a support system that helps to eliminate fears and obstacles that might stand in the way of you being the best YOU.

2 graduations were held this term: one for students from our South Bend Campus, and one for those from our Hammond Campus. We hope you enjoy the photos from both graduations! (click on the image to see the photo gallery)

The Excel Center – A Free High School for Adults!


Goodwill is the driving force behind The Excel Center?  Goodwill LEADS, Inc. is a non-profit entity affiliated with Goodwill Industries of Michiana, Inc.
The Excel Center is a free, Indiana charter high school in South Bend designed to help adult students do as the name suggests… Excel! The school offers a curriculum with the academic and personal resources that meet you where you are in life.  We’re different than online, self-study GED programs. You receive face-to-face instruction combined with a flexible class schedule and supportive relationships to help you manage work, life and family responsibilities. Upon completion, you’ll have a Core 40 High School Diploma, not a GED!

Get your high school diploma at The Excel Center and brighten you future! Call Caitlin at (574) 314-5570 for more information and stop in for Preview Day on Tuesday, March 14th.  While you’re there, you can sit in on a class, meet teachers and complete an application. If you aren’t able to join us on Preview Day, you can stop in when it is convenient for you.  Visitors are welcome any time between 8:30 am and 6:00 pm.  If school has been challenging for you in the past, the Excel Center can help. You’ll have an individual academic plan developed by our staff. Child care is available at no cost; and there are free Transpo passes for those who qualify. You can apply online at: ExcelCenterHS.org.


  • Only 46% of those who dropped out of high school are employed 
  • People without a high school diploma are 8 times more likely to be incarcerated
  • Employed individuals without a diploma earn 41% less than high school graduates 
  • More than 70% of high school dropouts live below the poverty line  
  • Children whose parents have not earned high school diplomas are 50% more likely to drop out 
  • There are 25,000 adults within 10 miles of South Bend without a high school diploma 
  • There are 700,000+ Hoosier adults without a high school diploma 
  • 90% of jobs in the United States require a diploma

The application is free and takes less than 10 minutes to complete. Classes start soon, so call Caitlin at: (574) 314-5570 for more information; or stop in for Preview Day on Tuesday, March 14th.

The Excel Center
2721 Kenwood Avenue
South Bend, IN  46628

* Entrance shared w/ Amtrak at North Meade & Orange Streets


text 2017 all rights reserved