To preface, I have no intentions of making this article enclose even a twinge of whine or ingratitude. I’m sure that there are many other students who share my stance. I’m also sure that there are parents out there who struggle financially yet play active roles in the betterment of their child’s education who would appreciate more support from higher places.
I’m writing in light of all of the financial and political problems that have recently occurred to say that there are indeed students who take advantage of the benefits that are offered in Lee County. However, it is a real pity that we are not properly compensated financially for our academic achievements.
Students from wealthier backgrounds are known to have higher inclinations to succeed academically and attend a four-year institution. But what happens to those who’ve been born without a silver spoon to clench between their jaws? Florida’s Bright Futures scholarships lessen their donations annually and school board members have proposed to set limitations on Dual Enrollment programs in the past. The problem I see is that schools pump the issue of attending college on one hand but whistle (almost cowardly) in the corner when it comes to funding this issue.
In the summer of 2009, I took the initiative to register for dual enrollment classes at a local college while attending high school. In late 2010, I transferred to virtual high school in pursuit of early graduation. As a result, it is now 2011 and I will graduate this June. I’ve registered for final courses for the college’s summer semester. After this term, I will have earned my associates degree. For those who aren’t aware, this degree requires 60 credit hours. Twenty classes in total. This may sound small, but to a full time high school student taking eight classes during two out of the three college semesters, it’s quite a feat. During my lightest college workload, I’ve taken 2 classes. At my heaviest, I’ve taken 5. Despite the grueling workload, my weighted high school GPA is well over 4.0 and my current college GPA is a 4.0. I’ve been accepted to a university for the fall semester. All this at just sixteen years old
Right now, I’m focusing on excavating money together to support myself when I move out. Thanks to the inexpensive in-state tuition, small grants, and scholarships, it looks like I will just barely meet my expected cost of attendance. Regardless, I will have to add money that I don’t have to cover future costs. I’ve even posted an ad on Craigslist asking for a free car. As mentioned in the ad, I’m aware that it’s gutsy plea, but at it’s an attempt nonetheless. Life happens and not every family is able to leave their child a huge college fund. Again, what does the system supply for those that were born spoon-less? We’re taught to aim high but in reality, I couldn’t afford to go to a higher ranking school if I wanted to without stepping my foot into the quicksand of debt.
This is a very unattractive side to our educational system. In fact, it discourages students of lower socioeconomic status groups to try to aim high when in fact there may not so much waiting for them on the other side. With all of my academic strides -- which were inwardly rewarding, without a doubt -- I find myself going off to a great university with empty pockets. Let’s say I’d ventured into a less approving route and lived up to the statistics set for young African American women. Statistically, pregnancy is not as far-fetched a concept anymore. Dropping out because of this would be “understandable” and growing up to receive welfare checks would simply be “the order of things”. Teen pregnancy alone costs the U.S. billions each year and people have made a livelihood collecting food stamps for decades. It’s also quite unsettling to know that Florida spends more money in the prison circuit than in the educational system.
So, what are they really aiming for? In my opinion, the push for higher education among high school students can be paralleled to the “We” in the first three words of the Preamble. “We” meant white landowning male citizens. Obviously, affording college is no longer solely dependent on race and gender. Instead, it is the economic status of these students that determine whether they can truly be successful later in life.
I’m only fees away from engaging in an all-out plead for help monetarily. All things considered, I don’t think that it’s fair that those who dedicate hours and hours to hard work get less in return in than those who take easier routes. I plan to send this article to as many who are willing to read it and can only pray for positive reception and most importantly -- change.