The area’s education outlook received a nice jolt of optimism recently.
Anderson’s Excel Center saw 35 students pass through its second graduation. Granted, that is a small number in the overall picture of high school and college graduates. But it is a significant start in showing that the academy can help adults who were unable to complete courses who were unable to graduate from high school as teenagers, whether they couldn’t cope with classes, had their own troubles or experienced family problems.
The center, which opened in August 2012, serves residents who are on average 27 years old. For the most part, these students want to seek better-paying jobs in the local sector but haven’t had the necessary degrees to pursue their dreams. Now, many are leaving Excel with Ivy Tech Community certification or dual credit.
The graduates and families should be proud of these young adults’ accomplishments.
But Excel director Joe White looks beyond the handing out of degrees. The center, he said, wants to help the local economy become more self-sustaining – for its graduates to find local jobs and improve the outlook for themselves and others who will follow in their paths.
The center has capacity for 300 students; there are 100 on the waiting list. That’s encouraging.
Certainly, tests scores and parental confidence in the area’s school systems need to be bolstered. In Anderson, as school superintendent Felix Chow prepares to leave, a new leader who emphasizes sound programming and serves as a cheerleader can assist in the public perception and student success arena.
Whether you adhere to the voucher system, prefer private schools or hold tight to public schools, the options for a comprehensive and rewarding K-12 life have hope.
The Excel Center is a promising sign of things to come.