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FRANCIS CONNOLLY

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Growing up as an adoptee from China and learning English as a second language was not easy to begin with. I was always marginalized in school and hearing the bell ring at 3:15pm was always the best time of day for me growing up. Like most children, there was always a smile on my face when school was cancelled, half days, snow days or any excuses classes weren’t in session.

I was constantly bullied and marginalized because of my Irish name and my lack of English proficiency. I always felt that school wasn’t for me. I kept rotating in and out of different schools, until fifth grade when I attended a local Catholic school. It was a long stretch for my mom. My mom gave up so much for me and my sister. She gave up many things including living in France, working in the pharmaceutical industry, and traveling the world.

I remember my mom crying at night over tuition bills and going to the pastor of the church that is associated with the school. That was when my mom was introduced to the Children’s Scholarship Fund. My mom could finally take a deep breath. In that moment, she could finally take a different approach to my education and really a path for success.

Though I did not know what to expect in a parochial school, I was up for the challenge because the teachers cared for me and took the time to understand that I had a learning disability, while I was still trying to learn to read and write. If it wasn’t for my eighth-grade teacher, Ms. Naranjo, I would have had to repeat aa grade, thus halting my education, as well as killing my ambition of getting a high school diploma.

Thankfully, I was able to continue to learn. I also had the opportunity of interning for the New York City’s Mayor’s Office, lobbying on Capitol Hill for United University Professions, which is the nation’s largest higher education union, so that younger generations can receive the best education possible and truly make something of themselves.

I am so thankful for the scholarship and the opportunities it granted me, and I believe every child across the country should have the same opportunities I did.

“I am so thankful for the scholarship and the opportunities it granted me, and I believe every child across the country should have the same opportunities I did.”

Post 2020 Future Leader Fellowship, I was accepted to work for the New York Yankees on a seasonal basis with their Guest Services Team. Additionally, I accepted an internship with the National School Choice Week Organization on their Social Media team to help spread the work of school choice before and during National School Choice Week. In addition, I am on the Young Leaders Board with the Children’s Scholarship Fund giving back to the organization that helped and keeps helping me become a better person.

BECOME A VOICE FOR CHOICE
BECOME A VOICE FOR CHOICE