A value-based education was very important to my parents. My parents immigrated from Liberia and the Caribbean to the United States, searching for a better opportunity. Growing up, my parents would stop at nothing to give us the best education possible, but only if the school’s values aligned with theirs. Hard work paired with the installment of a strong moral foundation makes education powerful. My family’s success wouldn’t have been possible without school choice, which gave us the opportunity to access that sort of enviroment.
Growing up with eleven siblings in one house was a struggle. My parents taught my siblings and I from an early age, that odds against you are meant to be broken. This lit a fire under us to defy the odds and we were able to do this through the Florida tax-credit scholarship; facilitated by Step Up for Students. This scholarship provided the opportunity for my siblings and I to become successful in life.
“My parents taught my siblings and I from an early age, that odds against you are meant to be broken.”
Without my parents being blessed with the choice of which school to send us to we would not be where we are today. My three older brothers have graduated from college with their bachelor’s degree. I graduated from Florida A&M University with my bachelor’s in Food Science and Technology. I have two sisters that are currently freshman in college, and a few more in high school following in our footsteps. Each one of us received and benefited from the Florida tax-credit scholarship. So, when people say that school choice doesn’t work, I simply show them my family.
Being a part of the American Federation for Children Future Leaders Fellowship has taught me many things. I’ve learned how to tell my story, I understand education policies in each state, and I am a experienced public speaker. Most of all, the fellowship showed me what I was passionate about. The actor Denzel Washington says, “don’t just aspire to make a living, aspire to make a difference.” And through this fellowship I have been given the opportunity to make a difference.
Through AFC I have been able to testify before state legislators, speak on panels, and educate families on what school choice really is. I have become so passionate about bringing school choice programs to every state, that I have changed my career path and started working in education reform. My goal in life is to be a part of change, and just like my parents stopped at nothing to give my siblings and I a better education. I will do the same for the many families around this country.