LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) — The only school in Kentucky that opened a few months ago is giving adults a second chance to earn a high school diploma.
The Excel Center’s mission is to use education to help people achieve their goals, but when you walk into a classroom, you won’t find the average high schooler filling the seats.
Shaquita McNeal is one such student. He decided to continue his education a decade after he dropped out of high school.
“I thought it would be really hard because I hadn’t been to school in over 10 years,” said McNeal.
McNeal, a mother, had to drop out of school to work. “I had to work at a young age to make ends meet and I couldn’t finish school because of course the bills trumped everything.”
Now McNeal is one of the first students at Kentucky’s only adult high school.
“At first I was like, there’s no way I can do this. But once you start, it’s hard to stop,” McNeal said.
The Excel Center in Louisville offers flexible scheduling over 8 weeks year-round.
Excel Center also provides extra support for students like McNeal. “If it wasn’t for daycare, or the life coach I got here, I might not be here now,” he said.
McNeal is one of about a hundred students working toward a brighter future.
“I’m actually really excited,” said Miya Boswell, another student.
Boswell said he had tried the GED program in the past, but said the extra support and hands-on teaching offered at the Excel Center made all the difference. “This is one of the best opportunities I’ve ever had,” he said.
In addition to earning a diploma, counselors at schools offer students the opportunity to earn a variety of certifications and explore a variety of career opportunities.
Boswell is considering social work.
“I love helping people,” Boswell said. “And then being here watching them do what I love, yeah, now I want to do it.”
She has a message for other dropouts: “I want them to understand that don’t quit once you drop out of school, you can always continue your education. As you know, don’t give up.”
McNeal and Boswell can’t wait to wear their caps and gowns during the upcoming graduation ceremony.
“Now I can do what I – like I said I never did – which is walk across the stage,” said Boswell.
McNeal said he planned “to act as if I had just graduated from high school and enjoyed opportunities I never enjoyed.”
Excel Center signed up for the next period, which starts in February. Anyone aged 18 and over without a high school diploma can apply. CLICK HERE for more information on how to register.
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