This blog post is part of our celebration of charter school graduates across the country and their achievements. Join us in celebrating our #CharterGrads!
I became an IDEA Public Schools student in the 6th grade and immediately knew that this school was going to challenge me both personally and academically. Growing up, my home life had been difficult, and I desperately yearned for structure and stability.
IDEA Montopolis in Austin is a small school. It’s a place where everyone knows your name and cares about your hopes and dreams. It’s a school that makes you feel like you can do anything because you’ve got the support of everyone behind you no matter what, and the focus is on community and family. At IDEA, we are encouraged to be the best versions of ourselves and it has made us better students and citizens.
In the 7th grade, I was fortunate enough to meet an educator who has been a great influence in my life. Mr. Christopher Rubio, our principal, had a big part in helping shape me into the adult I am today. When I was in 7th grade, and then again in 8th grade, I lost my house in a flood. On the same day—October 31—in back-to-back years. I lost everything I’d ever owned, but this somehow brought my family closer, especially my parents, who had already been separated since I was eight-years-old. I missed over 40 days of school, but Mr. Rubio and my teachers did everything in their power to help me catch up so I wouldn’t fall behind, and I am so grateful.
In January of 2018, I lost my paternal grandfather and it was another big loss for my family. He was my father’s best friend. I found it hard to concentrate in school, and my grades started to slip. Mr. Rubio noticed this and again set up a meeting with my family to devise a plan to help keep me on track. Through the support of Mr. Rubio and my teachers, I was able to persevere, and it made me realize that everyone on campus was invested in my success.
IDEA has done more than support me throughout the years, it has opened my mind and prepared me for a world far beyond the walls of my classroom. IDEA places an emphasis on the whole child—one who is not just a successful student, but who is also ready to contribute to society as a good citizen. Our college field lessons allow us to visit campuses across the nation, and each visit opened my eyes to just how beautiful and diverse our country is.
One of my teachers, Ms. Washington even helped me start the Black Student Alliance (BSA) on campus to help uplift and empower students to become socially active and engaged on campus and in their community. The BSA afforded us the opportunity to visit historically black colleges and universities in California and Atlanta. This was eye-opening for me to know that I have so many options when it comes to choosing a college.
Education is important to my family. Neither of my parents attended college, and I want to set a good example for my younger siblings. I was so proud to be part of the first graduating class from IDEA Montopolis at our College Signing Day. I got to stand before my parents and community and declare that I have made it—I am going to college.
This fall, I will be attending the University of Texas at Austin to begin the latest and greatest chapter of my life. Because of IDEA, I am prepared to lead and succeed, and I am forever grateful for the people and preparation that have given me the tools for life-long success.
Jacque’Lynn Walker is a 2019 graduate of IDEA Montopolis. In the fall she will begin classes at the University of Texas at Austin.
[Click to Tweet] Graduating senior Jacque’Lynn Walker thanks @IDEASchools Montopolis for everything they have done for her as she prepares for college at @UTAustin #CharterGrads