Dropping out of high school can leave an individual uncertain of their future and unmotivated to pursue new opportunities. However, when Angie Contreras was laid off from her job for eight months and was rejected after 14 job applications, she knew she needed to do something different.
“I took this as a sign that I needed to return to school,” Angie said. “I want to be able to provide my children with everything they need and want.”
Angie originally left high school after becoming pregnant with her first son.
“It was so hard for me to keep up with pregnancy and school. I was not focused on getting what I needed done,” Angie said.
Completing her education has always been a goal for Angie. She enrolled at The Excel Center®, Goodwill’s high school for adults, in 2015. Although she’s had barriers, she remained motivated to finish.
“I have not only grown in an educational perspective but my mindset has changed as well. I have a positive attitude and a willingness to keep going,” Angie said.
Originally from Honduras, Angie appreciates how welcoming and diverse the staff and other students are at The Excel Center.
“I don’t have to worry about being stereotyped or judged. I can come here and don’t have to worry about how I’m being looked at,” Angie said. “There are so many people here from different places, it’s beautiful.”
Angie was also able to utilize thefree child care offered at The Excel Center. The attendants noticed that her son had a speech problem and were able to refer him to a program to get assistance.
“I’m just so thankful for them because my son was able to get the help he needed. This program has been amazing for not only me but also for my entire family,” Angie said.
Next year will mark 10 years since Angie’s original graduation date, which makes her anticipated February graduation even more special.
“I feel like once I get that diploma, it’s going to open more doors for me, and I can conquer anything,” Angie said.
Angie completed the Certified Medical Assistant program at The Excel Center and plans to become a Certified Nursing Assistant also. After that, she plans to enroll in college and pursue a career in the medical field.