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My name is Rena Wilson and I just watched the movie Miss Virginia. I didn’t know what I was missing and seeing the movie really gave me perspective. Even though my daughter is in college, I have several nieces and nephews who are very involved in schools that are not as conducive to educating our kids as I would like them to be. It’s one of those things where it becomes our normal and we didn’t realize it. Comparatively, I don’t see other schools. In my neighborhood, I see what I see. You have to know there are other, greater things out there, but if it’s not your normal, you don’t interact with it.

Seeing this movie, it made the divide clearer that our kids are missing something and that the education that they were provided is not the standard that we would like it to be. I think my daughter got a decent education, but it absolutely could have been better. We took advantage of every opportunity that was afforded to us in her system, but I think that a system outside of hers in a better district or a private school would have been more ideal for her. Seeing the movie, it definitely shined a light on a situation that I don’t even think I was in.

I didn’t know there were other choices out there. I did the best I could with what I had. Being that it felt like it wasn’t a choice, and it wasn’t an option, I just rolled with what I had. But watching the movie and watching the fire that was lit under her, I probably could have pushed it more. Not to be hard on myself, because I think I did pretty good as a mother, but I saw that we have more power than we realize.

“I saw that we have more power than we realize.”

I would like to share with others that you should get involved. Ask questions. Push the envelope. Be more pushy and find out what is in the atmosphere for our children. There are things out there, even though we don’t have the scholarship programs that are presented in the movie, there are things out there. We have to make sure we’re seeking them out. Partner with others. I’ve been involved with Families Empowered for a while, because that’s how I found out about the movie. I was trying to get my daughter into YES Prep so I did know there were options out there, but once she didn’t get into YES Prep, I went into her district, into her school and I just pushed for what was there. I would tell parents, mothers, fathers, to keep pushing. Don’t stop. Look for the next level. If a door closes, push it open!

School Choice means opportunities, options. It’s making the outliers normal. You don’t have to be special. You don’t have to be born into the right family. You can be a normal person with a normal background or less than average background and still excel because you had the option.


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