(This is the second story in Brian Hauswirth’s series about Columbia’s Goodwill Excel Center high school)
Financial literacy is a key component of Columbia’s Goodwill Excel Center high school, which is a free adult high school to those 21 and older. Current students range in age from 22 to 79. Alaska native Peter Reed teaches social studies, math, science and finance at the school.
“For our classes like with the finance, our students appreciate that a lot more than like high school kids usually do, because they know they need it. And like with government, they can bring in their experience. So that allows them to include their life experiences that a high school kid may not have,” Reed says.
Mr. Reed tells 939 the Eagle that the Goodwill Excel Center high school in downtown Columbia is the best place he’s ever taught. The students come from diverse backgrounds, some from other countries. They’re all working to earn their high school diploma. Leeanne Hendrick, who teaches language art at the Excel Center, tells 939 the Eagle that it’s a big task.
“We have a lot of second language speakers on top of that so we mix them in. And sometimes it gets a little crazy, but we do it. And we’re successful at it. And maybe not as fast as we want to, but we stay at it,” says Hedrick.
The career and college readiness coordinator at Columbia’s Goodwill Excel Center high school says they provide one-on-one life coaching and career exploration, along with job-readiness training. Abby Courtney recently took a 939 the Eagle reporter and Central Bank of Boone County president Ed Scavone on a tour of the facility, which is in the former “Tribune” building. Ms. Courtney tells 939 the Eagle that she appreciates Mr. Scavone:
“We got super lucky to hook up with Central Bank (of Boone County). And that’s been lovely. We have two students who are now fully employed and I have a third on deck to be in the (Central Bank) call center, so that’s been a really nice funnel,” Ms. Courtney says.
The Goodwill Excel Center high school is in downtown Columbia. Students also receive a dedicated life coach and free childcare. You can reach the Excel Center at (573) 499-1220.