Nicholas West – My School Choice Story

In July, AFC had the honor of hosting several of its Young Alumni Speakers and future alumni and their family in Washington, D.C. Although their time in the district was short, their presence was felt far and wide. Each of them visited Capitol Hill to tell their story of how school choice impacted their lives. The following is a personal summary of this amazing opportunity.

Why is school choice important to you?

School choice is important because it helped me surpass my own limits and allowed my younger brothers to be placed in schools that could provide for their specific needs. The high school I was zoned to was a failing school and my mom refused to send my brothers and me there. Thankfully, when the Alabama Opportunity Scholarship began, I was able to get into the program. However, my brothers were unable to which meant they would’ve had to attend a failing school. My mother refused to let this happen. Luckily, with Alabama’s various school choice programs, each of us was able to experience different learning environments that we thrived in, even though we lived in the same household. Jordan thrived in an online school, and Blake was able to enroll into another school that could properly accommodate all of his needs.

What are three of your personal proof points that school choice works?

  • Because of the college credits I earned during high school, I was admitted into college as a sophomore.
  • I started my own web design business right after I graduated from high school that specializes in low-budget web designs for nonprofits, small businesses, and organizations.
  • In college, I was recruited by the FBI to participate in their internship program as a Cyber Analyst.

Why was this trip to D.C. so important to you?

The trip to D.C. was important because it gave me the chance to advocate on behalf of Alabama’s tax credit scholarship. Because the program is no longer being funded, I felt that it was important to share my story about the impact school choice and the Alabama program specifically has had on my family’s life. Without the funding, my two younger brothers will not be able to continue at their respective schools and get the education they deserve.

What was your best memory from your visit? Why?

The best memory from my visit was listening to the stories of other students. It showed me that school choice not only works in Alabama but that it works in other states too.