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PROGRAM — Step Up for Students

Since I was 17 months old, my mother had a lot to worry about. Before I even turned two years old, I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. My mom knew enrolling me in the public school system would not afford me the attention I needed. My school choice scholarship provided the peace of mind my family needed.

The scholarship lessened the stress of affording my K-12 private education. My single mother was able to place me in a private education environment; it was at this school that I excelled not only in academics but also socially and spiritually.

Attending my private school provided me with what I needed to thrive. I had smaller classroom sizes and a school setting that offered the specialized teaching I needed. Everyone should be able to choose the right education path for their child. Educational choice should not start at college; it should start from the very beginning of education.

Sometimes, a family’s zoned school may not be able to provide a quality education or have the resources that are needed for some students. A family’s income should not impact their ability to send their child to what they believe is the best school option. Especially now, families’ financial and income stability are becoming increasingly more vulnerable daily. Our families are spread thin. However, their children’s education should never be at risk because of limited financial means.

My desire for change started in the summer of 2019 when I got the chance to speak to our Congress members about lowering the cost of insulin in America. While I was there, I realized the difference in care for type 1 diabetics in my private school compared to those I met in public schools. The people who went to public schools said that they were almost by themselves and had no extra help in the nurse’s office. At my private school, I had my school nurse, who I call my snack buddy because she would always give me immediate care and attention when I came to her office. Children attending a school where they feel that people care for their health might not be a main priority for most, but for my community, it is. That is why I believe that educational choice is so important and should never be jeopardized.


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