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WATCH: Alabama student epitomizes the success of school choice

By The Alabama Opportunity Scholarship Fund

Kendri Moore is not just your average wide-eyed student starting her high school experience with tepid expectations. At Faith Academy in Mobile, her teachers and principal say she has found a home. Kendri’s family was desperate to get her out of a troubling situation she was in at the school she was zoned to attend. Kendri doesn’t mince words when talking about her experience at her old school, “It was a bully zone. Everyone got in fights in the Hallways.”

When her family discovered the Alabama Opportunity Scholarship Fund provides dollars to pay for K-12 tuition for low income families, Kendri’s life changed. She enrolled in Faith Academy. “It’s very important to us that they feel loved every day when they walk through that door,” Faith Academy Principal Tim Skelton says. Kendri began to excel in subjects in school that even surprised her. She was chosen as the lead in school plays and has become confident in her studies excelling in her core classes. She’s says she feels safe at Faith Academy, “There’s not anything close to bullying or fighting here. It’s just a calm environment.”

Even in 9th grade, Kendri sees things clearly when it comes to education. “It’s about the environment of course and how safe the kids are. The adults already have their lives figured out. The kids are the ones trying to get a diploma in 12th grade.” This is a philosophy echoed by even the most seasoned professionals. CEO of the Business Council of Alabama, Billy Canary says “There’s a theory that no child should be given an academic death sentence because of his or her zip code. You decide where you go to school based on where you live, that’s not always going to work.”

Results from a PBS investigative series called, Too Important to Fail, show that every student who does not complete high school costs our society an estimated $260,000 in lost earnings, taxes, and productivity. Canary says, “The business community cannot sit on the sidelines simply because we are the largest consumer of the product education and we are the largest user of the workforce output.”
The Alabama Opportunity Scholarship Fund helps thousands of children across Alabama reach their full potential by receiving dollars from companies and individuals who re-direct their state income tax liability. Last year, AOSF paid close to 12 million dollars to fund scholarships to students in 126 schools in 36 counties across the state.

Kendri is laying a path for her future, “I’m going to focus on musical drama. I am going to be a singer for people in depression.” Skelton is happy to talk about the progress Kendri has made since enrolling in Faith but sees education in his community as a mission. “It’s not about whether the public schools are good or bad or indifferent or great. It’s about the parent having the opportunity to put their kids in an environment where they can thrive.”

Kendri very simply says, “The teachers have already graduated and stuff so it’s not about them or the school it’s mostly about the kids.”