The Herald Bulletin

Morning Update

Local Education

May 12, 2014

Anderson's Excel Center graduates 59 students

ANDERSON — The Excel Center celebrated its second and largest commencement when 59 graduates gathered at the East Side Church of God on Friday to receive their high school diplomas.

A tuition-free charter school, the Excel Center is operated by Goodwill Education Initiatives Inc. The average age of students enrolled at the school — which opened in August 2012 — is 27 years of age.

Some people who attend the school on Nichol Avenue are just a few credits shy of earning their diploma, while others require many more, according to school officials.

In addition to earning high school credits, many of the graduates also earned college credits, said Marquisha Bridgeman, marketing director of the center. Other graduates earned certificates in child development, electronic systems and as pharmacy technicians.

Isaac Harris, for example, earned his diploma in five terms while maintaining a 3.13 grade point average, Bridgeman said. The 19-year-old also earned a forklift and logistic readiness certification through Ivy Tech Community College, and plans on transferring to Ivy Tech this fall.

Another graduate, Laura Ogle, 38, completed the requirements for her diploma and a certificate in early childhood development in less than a year, Bridgeman said.

The magna cum laude graduate also plans to enroll at Ivy Tech to pursue an associate of science degree in computer information systems.

She then plans to transfer to either Indiana or Purdue University to earn a bachelor's degree. Eventually, Ogle hopes to own her own software development company, Bridgeman said.

The Excel Center provides licensed teachers and online support; a drop-in center with free child care; and transportation assistance. The school is open year-round to allow students to earn their degrees throughout the year.

Like Stu Hirsch on Facebook and follow him @stuhirsch on Twitter, or call 640-4861.

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