I’m a mother of five. I have five sons, Elijah who is 17, Ezekiel who is 15, Zaki is 10, and Ghazi and Ghali are twins and they are eight years old. Elijah and Ezekial both attend Bright Futures Academy.
I work at the City of Refuge of Atlanta. I’m an RSA there. I’m in school full time taking up business management and administration. I love my job. I love my kids. I love my family. I love life!
Both Elijah and Ezekial attended a charter school before Bright Futures. They started at a public school.
At the time we moved both kids from a district school to a charter school, it was for the curriculum. I thought they would get a better education because it was a smaller community, so they didn’t have too many kids at the school, as well as the student-teacher ratio was smaller. The teachers called and kept in contact with me. The relationship with the school was very good, which is why I chose the school.
Elijah wanted to do paleontology, so he was always into science. He loved history. Ezekiel wants to be an engineer and he loves history and science as well. But since Elijah has transferred to Bright Futures, he is indecisive now about what he wants to do when he graduates high school only because now he’s been introduced to so much, so many fields, so many different ways to do things, different cultures. He has been introduced to a lot more than what he was introduced to at his previous school.
We decided to move Elijah and Ezekiel to Bright Futures because I feel like it’s in a safer environment. It’s not a big school and I thought they would evolve more here because they aren’t surrounded by 300 other kids. They wouldn’t get lost in the system, in the shuffle. I love the directors, Ms. Gayle and Mr. Phillip, and Ms. Martinez. The relationship with them is wonderful. The teachers are wonderful, so it was a no-brainier.
Bright Futures is a Christian-based private school, so along with them being in school, they have chapel and they are able to learn about the Bible and it was a no-brainer. Being in a safe, positive environment where God is included is so important to me.
My sons love Bright Futures. They are close with their friends here. I say friends because that’s the term I would use, but they call them their family. That’s what they encourage, this is your family. We are your family. They just love it.
It’s important that we have more options than our zoned school. I don’t want my kids to have to go to school in the school that they’re zoned in. I wanted them to branch out. I don’t want them to live in a neighborhood as well as go to school with the kids in the neighborhood. I just wanted them to be different, see different things, do different things.
I went to Booker T. Washington High School and after that I went to Atlanta Technical College. I also went to Job Corps of Atlanta and then I started at Sharda University. Along with that, on the campus that Bright Futures is on, I also took a City of Refuge communications course because they provide extra classes for adults who want to further their education, so I’m always in school. It’s important to learn, to grow, so whatever education I can get, I’m going to get it.
It’s important for families to have educational options because with options, they don’t have to stay stuck. They can do other things. I don’t want to just do what the neighborhood is doing; I want to do what I can do outside of my neighborhood so I’m able to grow and not stay complacent.
I would tell lawmakers to not let people stay stagnant, let them grow. We have a lot of different ideas, and dreams. We have a lot of different opportunities and if these kids are only allowed to do the things in the neighborhood, they will never know what’s outside their neighborhood. Growth is important; change is important and if we are not allowed to have options, we’ll never know what is out there for us.