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At 43, Goodwill Helped Her Get A High School Diploma

Katina Johnson celebrates during a assembly with her Goodwill Central Texas superintendence staff to plead aloft preparation options.

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez/KUT


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Gabriel Cristóver Pérez/KUT

Katina Johnson celebrates during a assembly with her Goodwill Central Texas superintendence staff to plead aloft preparation options.

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez/KUT

At 43 years old, Katina Johnson is formulation her high propagandize graduation party. It’s been about thirty years given she forsaken out of core propagandize when she found out she was pregnant.

Even before then, though, she’d never had a fast education. Her mom was dependant to drugs and altered her around a lot before she died when Johnson was usually 12 years old. “That was a final time we even seen a inside of a school,” she says.

More than 88 percent of American adults have finished high school. But for those who haven’t, salary are stone bottom, and that’s if we have a job. The stagnation rate for this organisation is some-more than 7 percent.

A board honoring Katina Johnson’s work with an Austin church organisation in Johnson’s home.

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez/KUT


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A board honoring Katina Johnson’s work with an Austin church organisation in Johnson’s home.

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez/KUT

After carrying her baby, Johnson never went behind to school. She had 3 some-more children, eventually losing control of them. She was drinking, regulating drugs and became dependant to moment cocaine. She went to jail twice. The second time, she says something changed. “Is this unequivocally what we want? Is this where we unequivocally wish to spend a rest of my life?” she asked herself.

For adults in Johnson’s situation, a non-profit organization, Goodwill – maybe best famous for a sell stores – has non-stop licence high schools in Indiana, Tennessee, Washington D.C. and Texas.

After removing out of prison, Johnson got purify and says she suspicion about removing her GED. One night she was examination radio and a Goodwill module held her eye.



”Here comes Goodwill opposite a screen. It was so lovable since it was on a news and all these people walking a theatre and we was like, ‘Baby, baby!’— to my husband— ‘That could be me!’ And he says, ‘Well pointer up!’ And we said, ‘I am, we am!'”

Katina Johnson skeleton her high propagandize graduation party. She’s receiving her diploma by a Goodwill Excel Center.

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez/KUT


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Gabriel Cristóver Pérez/KUT

Katina Johnson skeleton her high propagandize graduation party. She’s receiving her diploma by a Goodwill Excel Center.

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez/KUT



The campus in Austin offers something other adult schools in Texas can’t. In 2014, Goodwill lobbied a state legislature to start a commander module for 150 students, aged 26 to 50. Texas law caps a high propagandize enrollment age during 26. After that, we can usually get a GED.

So, a Goodwill Excel Center is a usually choice in Texas for comparison adults who wish a diploma. Which is critical when investigate shows a poignant salary opening between those who have a GED and those who have a high propagandize diploma.

The Excel Center offers life coaches—kind of like superintendence counselors— to rise a five-year devise with students, “To tie them into career training, have them go to ongoing propagandize such as a village college, career acceptance module or four-year college, that we’re saying a lot of a students do,” explains Matt Williams, a Vice President of Education during Goodwill Central Texas.

Jalanda Blackmon (left), and Caroline Smith (right), offer congratulations and support to Katina Johnson as she becomes romantic during an advising event for aloft preparation options during a Goodwill Excel Center.

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez/KUT


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Jalanda Blackmon (left), and Caroline Smith (right), offer congratulations and support to Katina Johnson as she becomes romantic during an advising event for aloft preparation options during a Goodwill Excel Center.

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez/KUT

The propagandize also offers stretchable schedules, giveaway child care, travel assistance and parenting classes. Some students usually need a few credits, so they get their diploma in a few months. For others, it takes a integrate of years. The core creates certain each tyro who graduates can review and do simple math.



”As a child, we never had that encouragement, we never had that support, not even from my mom,” says Johnson. Her graduation rite isn’t until June, though she’s finished all her classes. 
When students graduate, a life manager keeps tabs on them for dual some-more years.

Johnson’s subsequent step? She hopes that’s village college, though she has some work to do before removing there. She doesn’t validate for financial aid, though it’s too costly for her to compensate out of pocket. Right now, she’s looking for a second pursuit and wants to compensate off stream debts before holding out tyro loans. One thing is true. Johnson is dynamic to turn a college student.