Meet Jessica – Winner of the Voices for Choice Contest for October

We are excited to introduce Jessica Waddell, the first winner of our Voices for Choice story contest!

With the help of the Louisiana Scholarship Program, Jessica attended Lutheran High School in Metairie, Louisiana, putting her on the path to become valedictorian of her high school class and pursue her goal of becoming a veterinarian.

What does school choice mean to Jessica? In her own words:

School choice means being able to choose a better life for myself. It means choosing an education that not only works best for me, but pushes me to be my best. That’s what I got when I got the choice to go to Lutheran High School. Lutheran High gave me a better life than what I know I would’ve gotten at the public school in my neighborhood.

All of the high school graduates that I know tell me that they couldn’t wait to get out of there. I tell them, with a big grin, that I loved my high school. What made my school really special were the teachers and the small class sizes that I could only get at a private school. Most of our classes had about fifteen kids or less. They were small enough that it was very easy to connect to the teachers on a personal level. I have never had teachers like these before. These teachers actually cared about me and my future. They genuinely wanted to help me and see me grow into my best self. They are true mentors that I will forever be grateful for.

My private high school impacted me in a way that changed my entire perspective on school. Lutheran High gave me a joy for learning that I never had before. I’ve always known that I was good at school, but Lutheran High taught me to love school. They taught me that going to college, and maybe even veterinary school, was possible. Not only would it be possible to go to college, but it would fun and exciting! They were right. I’m in the third year of my undergraduate degree and I’ve never been happier.

Looking back on my fond memories of high school, I realize that they were only possible with the incredible opportunity my family and I received when we got the choice to go to Lutheran High School. My high school experience would not have been as memorable if I went to the public school in my neighborhood. I don’t think I would’ve enjoyed it at all. This is why all kids should have the opportunity to be able to attend the school of their choosing. School choice is powerful. Being able to choose the school that works best for you and allows you to thrive is one of the best decisions anyone can make for their child.


There’s still time to submit stories for November and win a $500 scholarship or a trip to Washington D.C.

Visit https://www.federationforchildren.org/become-voice-choice/

Thank you for sharing this opportunity with your networks of students, parents, schools, scholarship organizations, program administrators and others. Every story puts us one step closer to achieving our goal of ensuring access to a high quality education for every child.