The Excel Center recognized its 2016-17 graduates in ceremonies across central and southern Indiana this past January. They join more than 2,300 other graduates throughout central Indiana who’ve also received a Core 40 high school diploma from The Excel Center.

Chevon Maddix, 2017 Graduate of The Excel Center at Franklin Road, spoke at one of the ceremonies on January 27. The following are her words of encouragement to her classmates.

“Faculty, families, and, of course, graduates: I stand before you today, happy and feeling a sense of accomplishment. Why? Well, I’ve finished. With the help of the Lord, I am here. We did it. You should be proud too. Give yourselves a round of applause.

I have found that life happens. Life happens to everyone. Unfortunately, you can’t stop life from happening.  You can, however, change your outcome. You can’t change what comes your way, but you can determine how you let it affect you and what you choose to learn from your experiences. Trying to graduate high school has proven to be a journey for me. At first, getting my GED seemed impossible. In 2001, I moved from California with nothing in my bank account, a 7th grade education, and three kids. I was hopeless, downtrodden, and discouraged. I knew I needed to complete my education, but my focus was on working to take care of my children. In 2003, God blessed me to marry the love of my life, and in 2004, we had our last child. I was honored that God entrusted me with my family. I wanted to inspire my children to finish what they started.

After much prayer, I decided to continue my education. But life happens. And life happens to all of us. In 2014, my youngest son passed away, so once again I was hit hard, and my life was never the same. I decided not to allow life to determine my outcome. Five months after his funeral, I started taking classes at The Excel Center, pursuing my high school diploma.

Like I said in the beginning, life happens to everyone, but you don’t have to let life defeat you. You overcome. You wake up, and put one foot in front of the other, just take one step forward. You’re looking at a person who can share many stories about success, defeat, heartache, and joy. I’m only standing here today by God’s grace. Throughout this room, we all have different reasons why we’re here. We all have different events that have pushed us to finish our tasks. But one thing we all have in common, is that we have all had to face life. We did. And now we are on a journey, changing our outcome one step at a time.

Like I said, life happens to everyone, but we’ve pressed, we fought, we conquered, and now we have won. Let’s put our hands together for the class of 2017!”

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