By Dani Palmer
The Herald Bulletin
---- — ANDERSON — The Excel Center, a tuition-free charter school that offers adults an opportunity to receive their high school diploma, will celebrate its second graduation ceremony today.
Graduation begins at 6:30 p.m. in the City Auditorium.
Director Joe White said many of the graduates are leaving with Ivy Tech Community College certification or dual credit.
Students who come to the Excel Center — opened in August 2012 — are on average 27 years of age and at various points in their quest for a high school diploma, he said. Some have just a couple of credits left while others have many more.
In addition to helping students graduate with a high school diploma, White said, the Excel Center aims to help them find jobs afterward or transition into higher education.
"We don't just push them out the door and say good luck," he said.
The center's very first graduates traveled to Indianapolis to participate in ceremonies. One is now employed at a $15-per-hour job, White said, while the other is going to school for child care.
With more adults entering the workforce with a degree, he added, the center hopes to help the local economy became more self-sustaining.
Anderson's Excel Center has the capacity for 300 students with a waiting list.
Heather Cardenas, who began classes in February, is the Class of 2013's valedictorian and will be graduating with a technical honors diploma.
She also served as student ambassador and received a certification in CPR and early childhood development.
Thirty-five graduates will walk across the stage today.
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