On this episode, redefinED senior writer Buie speaks with Jennifer Strickland, mother to 14-year-old Jack, a freshman at Catholic High School in Pensacola, Florida. Strickland, a former retail manager and independent cosmetics consultant, found herself a single parent when her husband died unexpectedly.

Strickland talks about why she chose a Catholic education for her son and what makes it distinct from district schools. She also discusses the shock she experienced after her husband’s death, the financial hardship she and her son experienced in the years that followed, and her disappointment that state law prevented her from receiving a school choice scholarship for Jack because he had not spent the previous year in a district school.

“It’s like you are almost coerced to keep your child in a public school … Of course, the first thing I thought of was, ‘What am I going to do? He’s already going through a rough time.’ My mind was just reeling. I prayed and prayed and prayed I could keep him where he was.”


·       How Jack’s educational journey began

·       How Catholic schools provide a unique sense of community

·       How Strickland managed to keep her son in his Catholic school during the roughest time in both their lives

·       How a repeal of the requirement that denies financially qualified families school choice scholarships would benefit Strickland’s family and others across Florida

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