Record high number of adult-learners to graduate from Excel Center

(SOURCE: WMC Action News 5)
(SOURCE: WMC Action News 5)

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - The school year is coming to a close at the Excel Center where hundreds of adult students are expected to graduate this weekend.

The program provides men and women of all ages the opportunity to have a second chance at education and achieving their dreams.

They're not your typical students. They are adult learners that are returning to the classroom for their high school diploma.

"I had to drop out of high school because I was just naive," student April Pete said.

"Making mistakes when I was younger and not being passionate about my education, I know I knew I wanted to get a high school diploma, although, I didn't know how I was going to go about doing it," student Michael Bradley said.

Several hundred people have turned to the Excel Center - which is a free program that picks up where high school dropouts left off.

"We get their original high school transcript. They bring it in," Interim School Director Candis Dawson said. "Our register team and life coaches break down their transcript. And they finish the remaining courses they need to obtain their high school diploma."

April Pete said this is the first step in accomplishing her goals of attending college, providing for her children, and making her mother proud.

"I wanted to receive my high school diploma as well as walk because that was one of my mother's last wishes before she died was to see one of her children walk," Pete said.

The school offers flexible class schedules and a life coach to find solutions for life's challenges.

"I am finally in a place in my life where I can do anything that I want to do," Pete said.

With graduation just a few days away, a sense of accomplishment is felt throughout.

"My son said he is going to scream 'that's my mamma!' Pete said.

"I'm like a kid in a candy store. I'm ready for Saturday morning," Bradley said.

The Excel Center is expected to graduate 37 students this weekend - creating a record high for the center.

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