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DAMYAH JOYNER

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My name is Damyah Joyner. I am a senior at Victory Christian Academy. I love my school for so many reasons, the family feeling, the extra help in class, and the competitive sports. It’s because of the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship that I am able to attend Victory and having experienced other options, I am positive I would not want it any other way.

Victory Christian was my school up until eighth-grade when my parents and I moved to Arizona. There, I attended two different public high schools, and then we moved back to Florida. Once I was back in Florida, I started to attend Ridge Community High School and it did not take long for me to start missing Victory. I begged my mom to put me back into Victory. As I got older and spent time at Ridge Community High, I realized just how different the education was at Victory.

At Ridge Community, it felt like the teachers did not really care who you were. To them, it seemed like we were just another name on their attendance sheet. It felt like they thought we were at school just to stay out of trouble, not to actually learn. They dismissed us saying something along the lines of,“get your work done. If it is turned in late, we don’t care.”

My experience there versus Victory was such a stark difference. Kids can tell when teachers have given up on them and we can also tell when they are rooting for us. The teachers at Victory really want to see you succeed. They are always rooting for us. Because of the teachers and students at Victory, school is like a home away from home. When I go to school it does not feel like an obligation I have to fulfill, but one of the best parts of my day.

“Because of the teachers and students at Victory, school is like a home away from home.”

At Victory I am not just another name; the teachers genuinely care about me and I can feel how much they care because they show it. They will teach us one-on-one just to help us understand things better. My math teacher, Mrs. Hebert, is one of those teachers who just cares about you, and she is the reason why I love math.

Victory was not just a better environment for me because of the teachers, but because of the students as well. My friends at Victory have always been there for me, even when I moved to Arizona. I did not expect things to be so different at Ridge Community. It seemed like there was a negative competition between honors students, ap students, and regular students. This created a division amongst my classmates, and it created a hostile feeling at school.

Coming back to Victory was so refreshing due to the fact that the students encourage and uplift each other; we don’t tear each other down. I really feel like my mindset and growth flourished at Victory where it suffered at other schools. I do not think I would have felt motivated enough to go to college if I had stayed in that negative environment.

The sports at Victory are another reason why I love it here. I am on the girls’ varsity volleyball team. We have high standards, we work hard work to meet them, and dedicate ourselves to achieve the best that we possibly can. It is extremely competitive but never toxic. It is those high standards set by our coaches and teammates that get us where we want to be. For the first time in 8 years, Victory made it to Regional-Finals. I even made District MVP and Polk County Player of the Year. I really owe a lot to my team, my family, and my coaches for having made it so far, and I plan to go even further.

After I graduate, I plan to attend Eckerd College where I have received both an athletic and academic scholarship. I will be signing with Eckerd College on the third of February, and it is there where I will continue my volleyball career and my education in the medical field. A few years ago, I felt demotivated, like I may not even want to go to college. But thanks to the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship and Step Up for Students I am about to not only graduate but about to go to college on a full-ride scholarship.

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