Fla. school choice grads take their education to the next level

School choice advocates are sometimes accused of making their case with anecdotes. On this blog, we stand guilty as charged. We’ve profiled dozens of individual students who have taken advantage of the nation’s largest private school choice program. Many of them struggled in their former schools and went on to attend college.

These anecdotes, by themselves, aren’t enough to show the program is working. But the Urban Institute shed some light on the bigger picture last week. It released a major new study of more than 10,000 students who have used Florida tax credit scholarships. (Step Up For Students, which publishes this blog, helps administer the program.)

The study found students who use the nation’s largest private school choice program are more likely to enroll in college and more likely to earn associate degrees.

These students’ stories help bring those research findings to life.


Valentin Mendez graduated from La Progresiva in Miami and attends Miami-Dade College.

Jasmine Harrington graduated as valedictorian at School of the Immaculata and attends St. Petersburg College.

Jordan Massie graduated from The Foundation Academy and attends Florida State College in Jacksonville.


Lacey Nowling graduated from Faith Christian Academy in Jay, Fla. and attends Jefferson Davis Community College in Brewton, Ala.

Shalala Dubuisson graduated from Ebenezer Christian School in Florida City and attends Miami Dade College.

Deondre Pride graduated from Victory Christian Academy in Lakeland and attends Coffeyville Community College in Coffeyville, Kansas.

Agustin Mohadeb graduated from Hebrew Academy in Miami Beach and attends Miami Dade College.


Cheyenne Daphney graduated from Tampa Catholic High School to St. Petersburg College.

Denisha Merriweather graduated from Esprit de Corps Center of Learning in Jacksonville, graduated from University of West Florida with a bachelor’s degree in interdisciplinary social science, and graduated from University of South Florida with a master’s degree in social work.


Anthony Walker Jr.graduated from Monsignor Edward Pace High School in Miami Gardens and graduated from Northwestern University this past June.

Eliya McDonald graduated from The Potter’s House Christian Academy in Jacksonville and attends Tusculum College in Greenville, Tenn.

Malik Ferrell graduated from Tampa Bay Christian Academy and attends Southeastern University in Lakeland, Fla.

Matias Mohadeb graduated from Hebrew Academy in Miami Beach and attends Florida International University.

Jeff Barlis and Travis Pillow compiled this post.


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