My son Benjamin is the youngest of four, and he’s always been an extremely mature child. From the moment he was born, he loved learning. He loves creating, but he hates school. So, St. Mary’s was the perfect environment for him, but I don’t think I would’ve been able to afford it without a scholarship. I’m really happy it worked out because this is the absolute best environment for him. His pre-kindergarten and kindergarten teachers made it so much easier for him to like settle down and they’ve been so nurturing towards him.

Benjamin is succeeding at his school. He has straight A’s. He has a unique send of balance, he does his homework, but after that, he wants to go do something else. To me, that’s how it should be. I don’t think Benjamin would’ve thrived at any other institution.

My older kids all went to a private school as well, and the third benefited from a scholarship, but with my other two kids, we struggled to pay for them to get through school. They were attending St. Paul Luther, another small learning environment. Ben is a bit different, his favorite class here at St. Mary’s is the religion class. In my head, that’s the thing that keeps him grounded. He listens very attentively. He’s catching on to everything, but again, he wouldn’t have gotten it at the school that I went to. I went to public schools in New Orleans because my parents didn’t have a choice, but the fact that I do have one has been incredible.

School choice has been a game-changer for us. Oh my gosh. My grandparents didn’t get to go to school. They were still on a plantation with my dad. He only received part of a high school education. My mom and I graduated from high school the same year. My parents worked very hard so that we could go to school. But I found my public school to be under-stimulating. I was extremely smart, like my son, but I was forced to go to a public school and I was bored.

My parents didn’t have the resources to send me to the school I needed, so I had to stay in that environment. I think that limited me a little. Regardless, my brother and I became college graduates. So Benjamin knows that’s the expectation. He has siblings who have graduated from college already. I consider that an extreme gift and almost a privilege. The ability to take advantage of this scholarship opportunity is a gift that will last his lifetime.

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