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I’m a single parent with one daughter. She attended public school for elementary and middle school, and we felt her academic needs weren’t being met. She was acing all her classes, participating in extracurriculars, and still found that she wasn’t being challenged.

That’s why I began to look into private school options as she got ready to go to high school. But I knew I couldn’t financially support that. It was a struggle for the school to provide for my daughter and meet her where she was at. But as a single parent, I wasn’t able to support the rest of her needs either.

I found out about the tax credit scholarships through the school and applied. It was a little overwhelming, to be honest, to know that her future really relied on the chance of her getting these scholarships. These scholarships are extremely limited. I’m really her only support, and I wanted to support her, but private school is so expensive that it was hard for me to even think about sending her there without a scholarship.

She received the scholarship for her freshman year, starting last fall. I remember, honestlyjust crying out of happiness. I knew that this is the right path for her. She was overwhelmed with joy, too – knowing that she’d be going somewhere that would support her and challenge her.

I heard from her all the time that she was bored at her old school. At Cristo Rey St. Martin College Prep, we knew she’d get to be a part of a work-study program, expanding her knowledge not just academically but in life skills – that made both of us excited. Getting the news of our scholarship was such a happy moment, we were over the moon.

But when I heard of the possibility that these scholarships might not be supported [by lawmakers] this year, it caused us both to become very anxious – during an already anxious time.

And it’s not even just my daughter that I’m concerned about. I know of other children in the community that need this support and can do amazing things with their lives, but they need the financial support to get them there. I really hope everyone in an underserved community like ours gets the support that they need to attend the schools that are going to foster their academic needs.

Since she’s started at Cristo Rey, I’ve already seen her flourishing. She’s become more of a leader. She’s become more self-aware and braver – I feel like she’s more prepared for whatever is heading her way. This learning environment has helped her get there.

In public school, the teachers spent much of the time trying to manage the classroom. So even when my daughter had a question or comment, she often felt overlooked or not heard because something else was going on that needed the teacher’s attention more. I’ve always seen the leader in her, but I feel like she has found the confidence to really go for it now.

At Cristo Rey, she feels like her voice is heard. They push her out of her comfort zone and she understands the value and importance of that, and how the demands the school will help her grow going into the future.

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