“We are a family of four. Daniel, our oldest, is 15. Mariana, our daughter, is 13. We came to the United States from Mexico more than 12 years ago and became US citizens in 2018.
“Both of our children have been in public and private education. Most recently, when Mariana was going to fifth grade, we switched her to St. Joseph’s Catholic School in Anderson. Daniel now attends St. Joseph’s Catholic School in Greenville. We visited the schools and they were able to offer us tuition assistance, making it possible for the two of them to receive a private education.
“Previously, we had very good experiences with private schools in the United States. What we’ve noticed in private schools, is that our kids dedicate more time doing academic work. The private Catholic schools have higher standards when it comes to discipline and respect, compared to the public schools they were in before. It has been very good for them.
“The schools they now attend provide a better social environment for our children – from games and social activities to extracurricular activities and how close they are monitored by the teachers and staff. Definitely, it has been a better overall experience for us. There is also a very strong sense of community, our kids have had the opportunity to grow and they have made some great friends.
“With this pandemic, our family in Mexico was hit especially hard. They have a business that does social events, like weddings – all of that was canceled this year. They needed financial support, and we were very happy to provide it, but we had to cut costs here at home. We’ve always had the need for tuition assistance, but now even more so.
“The schools have also had to cut costs and adapt. The pandemic has left our schools on uncertain financial terms too, so we run a higher risk of losing that tuition assistance we need for our children to attend.
“In-person classes are very important to us. As human beings, we’re not made to be in isolation – especially kids. We have seen the negative effects at home that isolation has brought to our children, in their mood, how they feel and how they react. The kids have been greatly affected by the pandemic, being at home and not being able to socialize.
“Now that they’re back in school, we’ve noticed their mood is much, much better. They are really happy to be back.
“School choice could really help working families have the choice between private or public education for their children.
“As Catholics, our first priority is God. We want to help our kids grow in faith and be truly happy – not the happiness that you get from buying things. We want them to be educated and use the talents that God gave them. That’s our hope for them.
“It’s great when we see our kids trying to help and being charitable to others. The private Catholic schools our children attend now have changed our lives. These schools have helped us provide a good education for our children.”
Juan and Diana Cantu
Greenville, South Carolina