Tuesday, May 20, 2014
"I am proof school choice works."
Faith Manuel-McKenney’s story started with a boy and a girl who fell in love, but it ended so differently than she ever expected it would.
“I was pregnant with a baby boy at 15. I remember when I first laid eyes on my baby boy, I wanted to give him the world, and I still do.”
She knew the road ahead was not easy, but her heart was set on providing a better life for him.
“I knew that his future was based on my past, so I graduated from high school,” Manuel-McKenney said.
Manuel-McKenney married and had two more children, but when things didn’t work out with her husband, she had to deal with the difficult daily challenges and struggles that came with being a single mother. She desperately wanted a private school education for her son, but despite the fact that she was a hard-working woman, she could not afford it. She applied for the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship in hopes that her son would be able to focus on learning instead of distractions that get in the way of a quality education.
“When I got the scholarship award letter, I was jumping for joy!” said Manuel-McKenney.
While his first school was not a perfect fit, Davion’s second school was exactly what he needed. His mother describes how he was immediately embraced by the students and teachers there. He took on the role of student chaplain, he was on the basketball team, he excelled academically and in 2012, Davion graduated high school and went to college at Florida State College at Jacksonville.
Davion graduated college on the dean’s list, the president’s list and was just named tutor of the year.
“To say I’m proud is an understatement,” Manuel-McKenney said. “For us, this is about having educational options and finding the school environment that works for each child.”
Davion plans to go back to school to get his master’s degree and after that he will work as a math teacher, mentoring students, giving back and helping the way his teachers helped him.
Said Davion: “I stand here proud because most people wouldn’t have expected me to go this far. I am proof that the system of school choice works.”