By Kimberly Morin
Last night a celebration of National School Choice Week was held at the Currier Art Museum in Manchester. The event was sponsored by Children’s Scholarship Fund, Granite State Home Educators, Catholic Schools of New Hampshire, School Choice for NH and NH Alliance for Public Charter Schools. The event was “standing room only” and featured performances from students from various schools around the Granite State.
There were 3rd graders who performed a play about penguins from the Gate City Charter School; high schoolers who performed a modern dance from the Granite State Arts Academy along with the Bishop Brady Chamber Choir and middle schoolers from Gate City Charter School for the Arts who performed on bucket drums. Christopher Duffley, a boy who was born prematurely and as a result suffers from blindness, was also on hand to sing a couple of songs as well as the National Anthem to standing ovations. There were also robot demonstrations by the Phoenix Robotics Team of Nashua.
Governor Chris Sununu also appeared to show his support for school choice. It was one of the issues of his platform that he ran on during the election. Sununu explained how his own family has home schooled; publicly educated their children and are now sending them to a Catholic School. Sununu also gave Director of New Hampshire’s Children’s Scholarship Fund an official Proclamation claiming the week of January 22 – 28, 2017 to be the “National School Choice Week” in New Hampshire.
Kate Baker, Kathleen Rago and Michelle Levell all worked hard to make the event a success. When asked about it Baker said the following:
We are here to shine a spotlight on the education options available to families in NH. When a child has the education that is the right fit for them, we are providing them with the tools and opportunities they need to succeed and reach their full potential.
Many families find homeschooling to be the right fit for their children, and it’s growing across New Hampshire and the country. With the explosive growth of alternative educational opportunities and online programs, homeschoolers have the world at their fingertips! It’s a great time to be a home educated student. Thank you to Children’s Scholarship Fund NH and the other partner organizations for including us in New Hampshire’s School Choice Week celebration.
Many children across the Granite State have been helped by the Children’s Scholarship Fund. It’s a fund that gets private donations from businesses to enable low-income students to attend schools that are more aligned with their needs than traditional public schools. It has been extremely successful for both students and parents.
One of the benefactors of the Children’s Scholarship Fund, Abi Cyr also spoke about the amazing difference for her adopted foster children that a change in schools has provided. She also previously spoke at the Children’s Scholarship Fund Annual celebration:
After completing last year in his new private school, our hope was for Thadd’s progress to continue uninterrupted, and so we re-applied for this current school year. When the news came that he was again awarded a scholarship, we realized that for the first time in his life, he would experience consecutive years in the same learning environment. We were overwhelmed with gratitude – and yes, there were tears. The increase in the amount awarded helped ease our financial strain considerably.
The event was a smashing success as could be seen by the smiling faces of the students and families in attendance. School choice is extremely important for families to find the best possible educational solutions that will help their children. While working to improve public education, New Hampshire still has more work to do to make school choice a priority but with Governor Sununu at the helm now, that might just be a reality.