MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Every Tuesday, as part of our community changers series, we highlight groups and organizations making Memphis better. This week, we introduce you to a group that believes it’s never too late to graduate.

Students drop out of high school for many reasons. Some students dropout of school to help family.

The Goodwill Excel Center of the Mid-South is an adult high school that helps students earn a high school diploma.  Candis Dawson-Taylor is the director.

“Our program is very fast paced and accelerated. A school year for us is thirty-six days. Every thirty-six days our students can earn up to six credits,” Dawson-Taylor said.

They know students have challenges and work full time jobs. That is why they offer morning, afternoon, and evening classes. They offer a lot of help to get students to class.

“We have free childcare onsite for our students, free of charge, while they’re in class, their kids are in class getting prepared for Pre-K,” Dawson-Taylor said. “We offer MATA bus passes to all of our students that need assistance with transportation.”

For Charles Kilpatrick and his two year son chandler, the drop in child care was a blessing. Plus, his son got to take part in Charles’ graduation ceremony.

“It helped me because I didn’t have to pay another facility to watch him or look for somebody to watch him,” Kilpatrick said.

Ruby, who is finishing a few classes after moving to America from Mexico, utilizes the drop-in center for her three year old daughter.

“She interacts with more kids and she practices two languages, English and Spanish,” Ruby said.

That is why our anonymous donor wanted to give the Goodwill Excel Center a thousand dollars. Because when you remove barriers and make education a priority at any age, you will always be the top of class.

A true community changer.