I am a first-generation college graduate who wants my daughter to be successful. Growing up in the Englewood community in Chicago, I was exposed to crime, poverty and economic instability amongst people that looked like me. While in elementary school, I witnessed so many of my peers flunk out for one reason or another—but I was determined not to follow the trend or become a product of my environment. So I worked hard to get good grades and soaked up everything I was taught, despite the fact that I wasn't in the best school. But because of my hard work and dedication to academics, I was accepted to one of the most college-focused and high-performing high schools in the city, Kenwood Academy. Four years later, I graduated with a bachelor's degree. I’d done what I set out to do. My daughter is my world and I want her to be able to do anything in this world that she wants to do. So, before she was born, I researched different schools for her to attend based on class size, curriculum and the measurement of each student's progress. These criteria were important to me because I believe they are the core elements of a quality education. Based on my research, the University of Chicago Charter Schools was the best fit for Rachel. She attends Donaghue in Bronzeville which, along with general studies, incorporates language arts and S.T.E.M. learning into its curriculum. The school also carefully monitors development to ensure students are being challenged but are also learning at a comfortable pace. What I really appreciate is that they don’t use a one-size-fits-all approach to their students, but tailors their curricula to accommodate different learning styles and abilities. From what I see so far, I am confident that I have made the right decision in selecting the University of Chicago Charter Schools for Rachel. I'm looking forward to the opportunities that the University of Chicago Charter Schools will render to my scholar. I strongly believe that being aligned with and having access to opportunities makes success inevitable. Education is something that no one can take away from any individual, and a quality education lays the foundation for opportunity. I plan to expose Rachel to all of the opportunities available so that she knows that the sky is the limit, not her environment.
Photo courtesy of author.
Patrice Bledsoe is the mother of a first-grader and lifelong resident of Chicago. She attributes her success as a CPA and entrepreneur to having access to a quality education. She plans to lay that same foundation for her daughter.