SPRINGFIELD, Mo. About 500,000 people in Missouri older than 21 do not have a high school diploma.
On Thursday night, seven people here in Springfield made sure they are no longer part of that statistic.
They were part of the Goodwill Excel Center’s very first graduating class.
Alicia Hughes is one of the students. She had to drop out of school ten years ago because of a lower back injury.
She says when she found out Excel offered free childcare, she was quick to sign up.
“It was important to me. Having that part of my life that was just unfinished, I think, affected my self-esteem long- term,” she said. “It was kind of a bucket list for me to prove that I could go back and do it.”
Hughes said she isn’t sure what she’ll do next.; her ultimate goal is to be a photographer.
A fourth Excel Center location will open in Columbia this fall.
Those interested in applying can call 314-982-8802 or https://mersgoodwill.org/excel-center-registration-form/.