Guest blogger, Sonia Diaz, is the mother of an 8th grader at YES Prep White Oak. She runs a small business, leads the Parent Association at White Oak, and is a passionate advocate for equal charter school funding.
I loved my son’s elementary school, but I didn’t love the middle school that it fed into. They hadn’t met their goals in seven years, there were metal detectors, students had to have a clear backpack, and they had police officers on campus. I knew it was going to be a drastic change for him. I couldn’t afford a private school, but I found out about charter and magnet schools and started researching them. One day, I was driving down Tidwell and I noticed that the Kroger was gone and that it had become a YES Prep. I went straight there and found out how we could enter the lottery. My son went to a summer camp, and I saw that the teachers were so enthusiastic and happy to be there. They made us feel engaged and told us that they were going to work to get our kids to college. I knew I’d made the right decision.
Once I chose YES Prep White Oak as the school for my son, I made a commitment to soak up as much as I could to learn how to help my son achieve a college degree. As part of a Hispanic community, I know we face many limitations and live in difficult times, but I also know that our children can have a different life full of very good opportunities. The most valuable inheritance I can give my son is his education. Over the past three years, the teachers at YES Prep have shown him all the great things that he can become and conquer with a university degree.
Last year, I’d heard that there was a march for charter schools to receive equal funding. I started doing research online and looking in the newspapers. I went to our School Director, Ms. Greene, and asked how I could help. I knew the first thing was to educate parents because so many of us don’t even understand what a charter school is. I wanted to get the attention of the parents and get them to care about the funding. Every single child has potential and deserves to go to college. YES Prep is trying to give them the resources so they can achieve their dreams, so we have to care about and protect YES Prep and schools like it.
Because of my passion, Ms. Greene asked me to lead our parent association. Being involved in the PTA gives me the opportunity to help my community, and, together, we work for our children. I have a dream that I will see my son have a successful future, and I know that YES Prep can help make it come true.