Category: Student Spotlights

We’ve found “111” articles in category archives for “Student Spotlights”

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Meet Kayla

While attending her neighborhood school growing up, Kayla felt like she didn’t belong and wasn’t being challenged. Her mother believed she’d benefit from more individualized attention but couldn’t afford tuition at schools offering those environments. Then, she found Step Up For Students! Kayla received the Florida Tax Credit scholarship for lower-income K-12 students, which afforded […]
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Katie Cutford

Katie Cutford By Sherri Ackerman When Katie Cutford attended her neighborhood district school in Lake City, classmates sometimes made fun of her thick glasses and fainting spells. Katie has juvenile glaucoma and POTS (Postural Tachycardia Syndrome), a heart condition that causes her to occasionally lose consciousness. Her younger brother, Caleb Cutford, diagnosed with cerebral palsy […]
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The Garnes Children

The Garnes Children By Sherri Ackerman When her three eldest children were ready to start their formal education, Deidre Christopher-Garnes sent them to their neighborhood district school. It worked well for her daughters, Malkia and Rukiya. But her son, Osakwe, really struggled in the third grade. “He needed more help in math and science,” Christopher-Garnes said. […]
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The Cherry Family

The Cherry Family By Sherri Ackerman When Demetrius Cherry’s commissions plummeted at his cell phone sales job two years ago, his family of six lost their house in Land O’ Lakes and moved in with friends. “We were literally homeless,’’ recalled his wife, Nina Cherry. Within a few months, her husband found another job at […]
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June Welcome and Ryan Tetoff

June Welcome and Ryan Tetoff Chaminade-Madonna College Preparatory Hollywood By Sherri Ackerman June Welcome looked forward to sending her son, Ryan Tetoff, to his neighborhood school. By first grade, though, she worried he wasn’t being challenged academically. "Sometimes I would go to school and have lunch with him," Welcome recalled. "I would find him upset. […]
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Savannah Lang

Savannah Lang Rhonda Ford wanted more of a say in her only child’s education. But the divorced mom and self-employed massage therapist thought her options were limited to her neighborhood school. Then one day in 2002, Ford learned about Step Up For Students and the income-based Florida Tax Credit Scholarship. Once the family received approval, […]
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Denisha Merriweather

Denisha Merriweather The daughter of a teenaged mom and high school dropout, Denisha Merriweather thought she was destined for a similar path. Receiving a scholarship from Step Up For Students changed her life. Today, the 24-year-old college graduate is working toward her master’s degree. “I’m just so grateful," Denisha said. “This never would have been […]
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Layla and Jeremiah Cirino

Layla and Jeremiah Cirino Adrienne Cirino’s children started their formal education at their neighborhood school, but soon her son started shying away from kindergarten and her daughter had days where she was ducking desks thrown by angry peers. “I felt scared,” said Layla, who starts seventh grade in August. “Me and my friends would go […]
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Julie and Faith Kleffel

Julie and Faith Kleffel Seven-year-old Faith Kleffel giggles in the background as her tutor, Tammy Forte, talks on the telephone. They’re at Faith’s house in Longwood, near Orlando, where the first-grader with Down syndrome lives with her mom and is homeschooled. “We have a room,’’ explained Forte, a former local school district paraprofessional. “That’s her […]
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Hayden and Cambria Rogers

Hayden Hernandez and Cambria Rogers It didn’t take long for Jenna Rogers to realize her son’s neighborhood school wasn’t working for him. A kindergartner, Hayden wasn’t grasping basic reading and writing skills. And he didn’t like interacting with classmates. “He was really struggling there,’’ Jenna said of the Clearwater school, rated a D at the […]
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