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REYNA RODRIGUEZ

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My education journey started when my mother was looking to choose a pre-kindergarten program for me. I am one of six children with each of us having different strengths, weaknesses, and interests, and that is why school choice is so important for every child. Through lots of searching and reviews, my mom found a local arts magnet school that met all her requirements and she quickly got me on the lottery. Once I was in, we both fell in love with the program, and I excelled through fifth grade in the arts magnet program they provided to me. I was able to engage in activities such as the performing arts like dance classes and theatre classes, as well as visual arts like photography classes and sculpting classes.

After fifth grade, I went to the performing arts magnet middle school and pursued my love of the performing arts by continuing choir and being involved in the middle school show choir. I also continued playing in the orchestra, while also learning how to play another instrument within the wind instruments. While attending these schools, I grew up within an environment where I was free to express myself and was able to show off each of my unique traits, while also earning a great well-rounded education.

While in my eighth-grade year my parents were very conflicted about where to send me to high school. There were no area schools that would let me express my love for the arts while getting an education that would fully prepare me for my future.

After searching for the best option, my parents concluded that I would attend Bishop Luers High School, with the help of the Indiana School Choice Scholarship. We found that through Bishop Luers, I would be able to fully continue my love of the arts and be involved in the highly achieved show choir, while also receiving an education through a college prep school, and to top it all off, in a faith-based environment.

While in high school I faced many challenges that have since prepared me for all my current endeavors. There were many times I took on way more than I could handle, but with the help and support from the staff and students, I was always encouraged to continue and make it out stronger than I was before. These life lessons taught me that no matter what, I would be able to make it through tough times, which helped me during my college experience. Through the opportunity that the Indiana School Choice Scholarship granted me and my parents, attending Bishop Luers not only challenged me every day to be a better person and student. The staff and students also taught me to never give up.

“Without the support and assistance I received from not only all the teachers that constantly believed in me, but also all the encouraging students, I would not be where I am today, a college graduate.”

After attending public school my entire education, I went to Bishop Luers as the ‘new girl. I was extremely excited and super nervous about high school. Within public school, I was among the top of my class and continuously excelled in every area of my classes. I quickly realized that I was not as prepared for high school as I thought I was. Within the first weeks of high school, I was feeling very overwhelmed, and my first big exam only sealed the deal on how behind I was academically compared to my classmates. On top of all the change I was going through, trying to make friends and fit in, I now had to add catching up to my plate. Without the support and assistance I received from not only all the teachers that constantly believed in me, but also all the encouraging students, I would not be where I am today, a college graduate. Along with the challenges Bishop Luers brought me and helped me overcome, I was granted some amazing opportunities like meeting the former secretary of education Betsey DeVos, and also being a part of the American Federation for Children 2020 Fellowship Cohort.
As a college student, I was able to carry out the knowledge, skills, and talents that my parents were able to indirectly provide me with throughout my educational journey with their access to choose the right fit for me.

As a college graduate, I can look back on my unique education experience and be thankful for all that I was provided throughout my K- 12 experience in both the public and private schools in Indiana. Without the constant support I received throughout my education, I would not be as successful inside or outside of the classroom. I was well prepared for college and now am looking forward to my future as I am currently working at a law firm and hoping to go to law school.

How has the Future Leaders Fellowship affected you personally? What have you learned from the program, and what opportunities have you had as the result of this program?

Being a part of the Future Leaders Fellowship has given me opportunities I could have only dreamt of. I have been able to travel throughout the United States sharing my story and helping more students like me get the education that they all deserve. Through the Fellowship, I have been able to learn from others and become knowledgeable of all that the school choice movement does. I am so lucky to be a part of AFC and to continue to learn and help others get a better education! Without the continued support from all those in favor of school choice, especially the Indiana School Choice Program, I would not be where I am today academically. I firmly believe that the School Choice Program has forever changed my life and will continue to help my family and many other families that are financially burdened.

BECOME A VOICE FOR CHOICE
BECOME A VOICE FOR CHOICE