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My education story starts at Weisser Park, an arts magnet school where I have many happy elementary school memories.    

While at Weisser Park, I struggled with a speech impediment so severe that people thought I was British. With the support and guidance of the Weisser Park faculty, I was able to overcome my struggles and perfect my speech to the point where nobody could tell I had struggled in the first place.   

My time at Weisser Park was amazing and I developed many close friendships and great relationships with my teachers. But when I was in fourth grade, my parents made the hard decision to move me to a school that would be a better fit for my siblings.   

Being one of the youngest among five siblings, I had very little say in the matter. All I could do was follow. My mom knew it would be best for my sister and brother to attend our local private school, so logically they didn’t question moving me to the same school.  

For the longest time, I resented my sister and brother for making our family need to switch schools. I blamed them. I was happy at Weisser Park. I had friends and what I thought were good grades, so why did we have to leave?   

Why did my new classes have to be so hard?  

It did not help that the first couple of years of attending my new private school I felt as if I had no friends. Seeing all my friends from my old school together having fun and moving on with their lives without me only added to the distress.   

I began to struggle mentally and physically. Growing up in a big family, I learned that I had to be the best if I wanted to be noticed. My mindset was always competitive. I never liked to be behind, so not being able to succeed with the others made me feel like I was less. I would come home from school most days crying, not ever wanting to go back.  

But in my second year at the school, I made new friends and connected with the teachers. I was finally able to grasp an understanding of the school and master the idea of studying. I still recall feeling defeated, but I never gave up. Being depressed and angry, I could have stopped doing my homework and trying all together.   

However, I knew that was not me or who I was raised to be. So instead, I persevered.  

It was not until I went to high school that I understood why my mom moved us from a magnet school to a private one. If I had stayed at my school, it is likely I would not have been prepared for the private high school I would later attend. It is more likely I would have attended my zoned school.   

Given the outcomes of the public school in my area, it is also likely that I would never have graduated at all.   

School choice gave me the opportunity I needed to excel in school, even though it didn’t feel like that at the time.   

I graduated with high honors in all four years of my high school career.   

At my high school, I was able to grow in my faith and I discovered my drive for helping people. I received a near full scholarship to Saint Mary’s College, a sister school to Notre Dame and received the honor of being on the dean’s list here.   

School choice gave me the chance to find myself.


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