It all began when my family moved to Florida when I was seven years old. I have five siblings and my family often struggled to put food on the table. So, as you may expect, there was not enough money for anything else. Because of this, I ended up attending my neighborhood public elementary school.
While at my elementary school, my grades and behavior began to suffer because of how the school functioned, and the inadequate opportunities that were provided. The class sizes were very large, and I felt as though I was lost in the crowd.
I was unable to receive the help and attention from teachers that I needed to excel in my class work. Because I came from a lower income family and this elementary school was the only one in my school zone, I had to continue going there.
After my fourth-grade year, my parents found out about Step Up for Students and the private schools that accepted it. They foresaw all the opportunities that this scholarship would present their children and did not waste time in applying. My parents were extremely happy because they knew that they could find a school that would fit their children’s need for a better education.
This scholarship led my parents to enroll my siblings and I into a wonderful school called Academy Prep Center of Tampa. Once I enrolled in Academy Prep, my life changed for the better. Within this school, I gained many resources that helped me to excel in my academics and I was able to establish myself as a well-rounded scholar. Some of the resources that were provided were smaller class sizes, field trips that broadened by horizon, and numerous extracurricular activities that kept me busy and engaged in school.
“I now attend Florida State University and I will graduate with a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering next fall.”
I did not know it then, but later I would realize the impact that this school would make in my life. I eventually enrolled in Jesuit High School in Tampa. While at Jesuit High School, I felt that Academy Prep prepared me well for the all the challenges that I experienced while in high school. This allowed me to excel in high school and attend the college of my dream.
I now attend Florida State University and I will graduate with a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering next fall. I owe it all to the opportunities that Step Up for Students and Academy Prep Center of Tampa provided me. If it had not been for Step Up for Students providing me with a scholarship and an opportunity so many years ago, I can honestly say that I would not be where I am today.
I currently have one brother who graduated from the University of South Florida with a B.S. in mechanical engineering. I have another brother who graduated from the University of Central Florida with a B.S. in microbiology and is currently applying to medical school. I have a younger sister attending Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University, and two younger siblings at Tampa Catholic High School, currently receiving Step Up for Students scholarships.
As you can see, my family has benefited greatly from Step Up for Students scholarships and attending the wonderful schools that the scholarships allowed us to access.