School Choice Week Essay Competition

We received essays from students different learning environments all over the state! We awarded $500 to a winner in each category. Congratulations to all the winners!

Holland Sweeney

Bridge to Hope Academy

I love my school because my school teaches special. My school specializes in dyslexia, which is what I have. Dyslexia makes things hard to remember and it affects my learning. I get distracted very easily, but at my school, I have things like fidget toys, swings, bean bags, and trampolines to help me concentrate better. At my school, we are taught through multisensory, so we say it, hear it, touch it, and make movements to help us learn.

I also love my school because of teachers. They are my favorite! They help me learn in different kinds of ways, like helping me read and decode words. Before I went here, I could not read at all. After being at this school for just eight days, I was able to read. At my school before this, I didn’t know how to read because they weren’t teaching me the right way. This school makes me feel good and safe. I feel more motivated to learn here.

I also love the activities we do here! At 10:00 we get brain breaks to play or eat snacks, and they help me focus on my work. On the first Friday of the month, we get to do Fishing Friday as a reward for good behavior and everybody gets to do it. It really doesn’t matter if your behavior was the best that week, because it motivates everyone to do better in life.

Our school is so great! Other students should come here if they need intervention or a better classroom. When I came in, it felt like I was welcomed in. It takes some adjusting being in a smaller classroom, but I love it. I have great friends, and I enjoy going to school! I don’t dread waking up in the mornings anymore because I am excited to grow at my school! Anyone that comes here would be welcomed into our family!

Nathan Woollen

Barton Junior High

It is January 31, a couple of hours before this essay is due and I am blank. Though I planned to make a large detailed essay, the threat of procrastination and time told me otherwise. So if you’d let me, I want to explain why school choice is important to me. This includes freedom to choose, greater learning potential, and the outward effects.

To begin with, I love freedom and liberty. Everything we do is freedom based. Even the 4th of July Mountain Dew is called ‘Liberty Brew.’ Having the freedom to choose which school I invest my resources and time into feels good. After I switched to virtual thanks to school choice, I now have more time for studying and doing activities I enjoy.

Secondly, I enjoy knowing that I can always switch to a better learning program that fits me. I had been annoyed with the wasted time in class, so switching to virtual gave me more time to do what I wanted. For others, they may prefer a private school where they excel at. Giving people the choice to learn in their own way has been proven to work.

Lastly, I’d like to discuss some other effects. People who homeschool or private school typically score higher and get better grades. Studies also show that homeschooled children do fine in the real world. It doesn’t make sense to remove their right to education, and doing so would be immoral. Allowing private schools also allows competition and leads to improvement to survive in the market.

In conclusion, I am thankful for having school-choice. The benefits from the flexibility and freedom, greater potential, and the many other effects make it an amazing idea. We need to continue to advocate and spread the word for ourselves and our children.

Marybeth Arnold

Southside High School

My community and I appreciate the option of school choice. Many people in my community, including myself, are thankful to know they are able to choose their educational future.

One of the many reasons my community is content with school choice is it can give students an education that best suits them. School choice can be beneficial to those looking for certain elective classes or alternative core classes. Without school choice, some students would not be able to take courses only given at certain schools, preventing them from receiving the best education possible for themselves.

I appreciate school choice because it has lifted a weight off of my shoulders. Both of my parents teach in Fort Smith, which is outside of my hometown. The school district I would be going to without school choice is twenty minutes away from Fort Smith schools, so it would not be convenient for my parents if I ever needed them for something. Because of school choice, I have the privilege of attending the same school district my parents work in. They are closer to me, and it is much more convenient for them.

I am also fortunate to have school choice because I chose to go to a high school that has better opportunities for me than others. The high school I chose to go to has better stagecraft and art programs than most. Because of these opportunities, I have made new friends and found my passion in the arts.

My community and I appreciate school choice, and I cannot imagine how students would feel without the opportunity of it.