Life is a journey everyone must take and go through but it is always up to the person to make the journey adventurous or to make the journey miserable. My name is Ann Montealegre, I am a senior at my high school, La Progresiva Presbyterian.

The journey that I call life started when I was in third grade. I say this because when I was in third grade my family had split. As a middle child of two brothers, when the divorce in my family occurred I not only lost my father, but I also lost my older brother. Through the divorce and the loss of my father and older brother, I had to grow up quickly as I needed to take care of my younger brother and make sure to help my mom in every way I possibly could.

My mother was not receiving any child support from my father and had to provide for two children, pay rent, pay bills, and make sure we always had what we needed. In other words, I have seen many years of my mom weeping, struggling to feed us or pay for rent, and always worrying for her firstborn, as she never knew of his whereabouts.

Unfortunately, during middle school, my grades started to take a leap towards oblivion because I lost my motivation to maintain excellent grades, I had friends around me who were a bad influence to my life, and my mom was forcing us to move as she could no longer afford the home I once lived in and the neighborhood I grew up in for most of my life. At the time I saw the move as something unnecessary but now I see it has a blessing in disguise.

From elementary to middle school I have been only in public school. During the middle year of eighth grade is when I went to La Progresiva Presbyterian, a private school that promotes Christianity. A person who has only ever been in public schools going to a private school was a big jump for me. The school was cramped compared to the sizable public schools I have known.

La Progresiva Presbyterian was also distinctive from public schools because the teachers at the school like to connect one on one with the students. Every teacher I had at that school, even if I did not enjoy the subject of the class, always enjoyed teaching the students. They always taught every student with a passion that showed they loved their job and everything about it. In public schools, this was something very uncommon. I had teachers that taught only to receive their paycheck and I have had teachers that just handed out packets and told us to work on them.

Being a student at La Progresiva has not only shown me that I can have a career of my choice that I will be able to love, but I have been able to meet the best people there that have become my longest-lasting friendships and people I care most about. Although I hated La Progresiva in the beginning, because it was a change, it was a change that was needed.

Through La Progresiva, I was able to take courses that will help me with my future, such as learning about financing, preparing for college, having a class about Christian education that focuses on not only the word of God but the world-views of others. I also had the amazing chance to start dual enrollment, a program where I go to high school and college during the same years but at different times.

Switching from a public school to a private school was one of the best things my mom could have done for my younger brother and I, and it is something I will always be grateful to her about. A program that has funded La Progresiva and has helped my mother lessen her stress about money is school choice. It is a program dedicated to helping students all over the United States and the world further their education and provide funds so they can continue to do so.

This program has provided a scholarship to both my younger brother and me. Without the funds to help us we would not be able to be in La Progresiva in the first place. Choice has made life easier for my mother as she no longer needs to work two jobs every day to afford the school my younger brother and I go too. It is a program that should be more common in today’s society as many parents like my mother, whether they are divorced or in poverty, will not be able to afford a better education for their children, leading them to be in dangerous positions in their life that could have been prevented.

I am not sure where I would be if I continued the path I was going down. To have the opportunity to see my mother become less stressed throughout the years because she no longer needs to worry about paying full tuition for a private school is what makes me the happiest and is simply a dream come true. Not only was my mother able to put two children into a private school to better their education and better their future, to do it alone with the help of the Choice program is what amazes me as it really helps our household become less stressful and makes our life a lot easier.