When I was in K-12, the knowledge that my teachers cared about my education was what mattered to me. My family decided charter schools were the best fit for us. I attended Darrell Lynn Hines Academy from third grade to eighth grade during my elementary school years, where I graduated. I was able to have smaller classes and teachers who showed me how to truly learn, not just memorize random information by the end of the school year. We were introduced to the Carrera program, which taught us how to express ourselves through art, manage money, have empathy for others, and say no to peer pressure. Having a variety of opportunities in school gave me a more extraordinary ability to choose where I wanted to be in life. It should be a fundamental right of students everywhere to have a voice where their future is concerned.
I graduated high school from Dr. Howard Fuller Collegiate Academy with college credits from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and Milwaukee Area Technical College (Milwaukee Campus). Taking college courses before graduation allowed me to come into college knowing what to expect from the curriculum. Right away, I was nurtured as a school leader, joined the National Honor Society, represented our school at City Hall for Girl’s Day and PEARLS for Teens Girls. I became a Technology Ambassador and learned to solve all level one technological issues. I did this while participating in various pre-college programs such as Boys & Girls Club of Greater Milwaukee: Grad Plus, I Have A Dream Foundation: Milwaukee, University of Milwaukee- Upward Bound, and College Possible. These various programs made it possible for me to have the opportunity to attend Marquette University debt-free.
During my time as a student at Dr. Howard Fuller Collegiate Academy, I was able to go on a national college tour and visit the nation’s capital and African American Museum–all for free during my junior year of high school. That’s not an opportunity that many students from Milwaukee’s north side could say they’ve had. I represented first-time voters in a TMJ-4 news segment that followed how a group of students from different backgrounds and parts of the state decided whom to vote for in the 2020 election. My college application process included waivers, a full-tuition scholarship, and the ability to be debt-free. The staff was able to see me as an individual who knew what I was capable of and helped me succeed.
In Milwaukee, students like myself have the power to choose schools that they know work best for them. Families can go to a traditional public school, a public charter school, or a private school. The school choice movement made a difference for me in my elementary and high school experiences. I was able to attend two charter schools-Darrell Lynn Hines Academy and Dr. Howard Fuller Collegiate Academy.