Jamyha was adopted by my mom when she was one year old. She’s attended private school her entire life on the Step Up For Students scholarship. When my mom was diagnosed with dementia, Jamyha started to live with me. She is a gifted basketball player with the height to play as well.
She was recruited to play at various private schools in our hometown in Jacksonville, FL. This school year, she was recruited to play and train at West Oaks Academy in Orlando, FL. If it weren’t for the scholarship, this opportunity would not have been possible for her!
“If it weren’t for the scholarship, this opportunity would not have been possible for her!”
At first, I didn’t see her athletic potential or that she really wanted to play. But in the sixth grade, something changed. Around that time, Jamyha had the opportunity to meet Lisa Leslie at a function with the American Federation for Children. She talked to Lisa Leslie about her insecurities with her height and her interest in basketball. Lisa Leslie encouraged her to keep at it. I think that increased Jamyha’s passion for the sport.
Because of the Step Up for Students scholarship, I could find a school that best meets her needs and interests. Jamyha is a very timid young lady. She is an introvert and is easily influenced. Therefore, it wasn’t just important for me to find a school with a good education or basketball program, it was also important for me to find a school that would fit her personality.
The public schools in our neighborhood are known for having a lot of violence. That’s the name they have for themselves. With school choice, I was able to find a school that fit her personality while at the same time ensuring she receives a good education and good athletic training.
Because of the opportunities, she has become more interested in attending college.
She has brought a lot of pride to our family. Most people in our neighborhood have never had a child go away to school, especially not for high school. Most of our black kids are scouted because of their athletic abilities, but with the scholarship, she can go to a good private school to get an education, plus training for her basketball career. It has brought a lot of pride to our family.
“I would encourage anyone on the fence about school choice to really understand the opportunities it provides to families.”
I would encourage anyone on the fence about school choice to really understand the opportunities it provides to families. I know and see that more kids in lower-income communities now have greater opportunities in life because of school choice. Parents are not restricted or obligated to go to the neighborhood school. Regardless of race, parents are now able to take their children to a school they think will be a better fit for them.