Javier Velez Toro
Florida Tax Credit Scholarship
I understand that not everyone has the opportunity to receive a scholarship to attend a private school. So I hope to share, in my own way, the blessing that I received.
Through this blessing, I ultimately learned that working hard reaps a well-deserved reward; how much I wanted to learn in my classes was up to me, not my teachers. And the most important thing that I could learn is to live a life that is meaningful and helpful for myself and for others. Attending my school was definitely a sacrifice, but it was never in vain; having a scholarship to attend my school made my educational experience much more gratifying.
With a lot of consideration and prayer, my family decided that it would be best for me to attend a private school as I entered the final four years of my school career, despite the fact they knew that it would be a tremendous cost in our finances. Having that scholarship greatly reduced the tuition and allowed me and my parents to endure a sacrifice that didn’t strain our financial and emotional stability.
“I was able to grow in an environment where I was academically and personally challenged to excel.”
Additionally, through my scholarship, I was given the opportunity to meet students, faculty, and staff that wanted the best for my future and helped guide me on the track I currently reside: studying Biomedical Sciences to pursue a career as a medical doctor. I am proud to have attended my private high school, because I was able to grow in an environment where I was academically and personally challenged to excel.
I achieved various feats that I previously thought I could not do (like graduating in the top of my class, graduating with over a 4.0 GPA, and helping create my school’s first-ever boys’ volleyball program) and even began to learn about different ways that I could be a leader in my community (such as peer-mentoring underclassmen, being president of the national honors society and organizing volunteering opportunities for our members, and serving as a class officer multiple times for the class of 2017).
I have been asked various times by peers and loved ones if it was truly worth it to undergo the hassle every year just to get an education which was provided for free elsewhere. My answer was always the same: If you want a good education, you will always have options. But not a lot of institutions will offer you a place where you can develop your character. Many places can offer you a good education, but not all are willing to teach you how to be a good, integral person in your society. You can be the smartest person in the world, but it is meaningless when the person is abhorrent and is disconnected from the people they are surrounded by.
Being able to receive my education in a private school allowed me to not only understand what role I wanted to pursue in my professional life, but it also helped me to discover how to be a better person in my community (regardless of what role I played).