Tekoa Shager’s children excel in Huntsville’s Grace Lutheran’s STEM program

Tekoa Shager’s children Xyan and Colin want to become engineers when they graduate, which she found surprising. However, after attending STEM (Science Technology, Engineering and Math) classes at Grace Lutheran in Huntsville, that’s exactly the career path they have chosen. 

Xyan and Colin are able to attend Grace because of the Alabama Opportunity Scholarship Fund. “My children were zoned for failing schools in Huntsville,” said Tekoa Shager, mother. “Because of their scholarship they get to attend Grace Lutheran. If it were not for AOSF, my children would not be getting the quality education I want them to have.”

Shager’s says her children were average students before transferring to Grace Lutheran and that they were shy and reluctant to get involved at their public school. She was disheartened because she could not afford to give them the quality education that she wanted to give them. After learning about the AOSF, she applied and received the financial assistance needed to send Xyan and Colin to Grace.  Now they are excelling academically. Their learning comprehension has improved significantly and their grades have steadily improved each year.

“Being part of the Grace family has had a huge impact on my children emotionally and academically. Now that they receive emotional support from their teachers and friends. They  feel accepted and are longer shy like they were before,” added Shager.

Grace Lutheran’s faculty and staff work directly with parents to help children reach their fullest potential academically. They educate students through goal setting so that students can learn how to earn trust, become responsible, make decisions and develop follow-through skills. They also provide quality science and math education through state-of-the-art technology.

Grace Lutheran’s science and math programs have allowed Xyan and Colin to find their calling and where they have allowed them to excel. Classified and ranked as average students academically before attending Grace, they are now ranked in the top 15th percent academically for their grade level.

“My children’s futures are limitless,” said Shager. “I’d hate to think about what their futures would have looked like if they had stayed in the failing school system. The Alabama Opportunity Scholarship Fund was the ONLY option for my kids’ futures. I don’t want to think about what would happen if the program was no longer available because for me, my children would have no future if they were not able to attend Grace.”

Carlos Thomas

Success Unlimited Academy in Montgomery, Alabama helps Carlos Webster turn the corner

Nyena Webster wanted to send her son Carlos to a new school, but knew she could never afford to on her teacher’s salary. Carlos was in the fifth grade. He didn’t like school and he fought his mom everyday not to have to go. When Nyena found out about the Alabama Opportunity Scholarship Fund, she knew she could get help to find Carlos a better school option.

“He was one of 30 kids in a classroom at his old school,” said Webster. “He is the kind of child that needs to be placed in an one-on-one small group setting. I was just struggling to help him and get him to where he wanted to learn.”

Carlos Thomas

Success Academy is a Comfort Zone

With the scholarship, Webster was able to send her son to a school where he could learn. Since he’s been attending Success Unlimited Academy he has found his comfort zone and his grades have improved. His learning environment is different too because he is getting the attention he needs from the teachers. “The school reminds me a lot of home school and parents with their one-on-one approach,” added Webster.

Carlos is now in the 10th grade and he is talking about going to college–something his mother thought he would never talk about. “For me the school has been a lifesaver for my son.”

Webster would like her other son, Uriah, to attend Success Unlimited Academy, but he’s on a waiting list. “Uriah and Carlos are like night and day. Uriah tends to conform to his surroundings, but I want him to go to private school.” At least for this year, it is not possible because there were only 300 spots out of 2,000 applicants available.

Webster believes that teachers and schools should be focusing more on the students rather than testing or money. Her vision for all of her kids is that they have a safe and nurturing learning environment.

Webster added, “It’s important that we continue to support the Alabama Opportunity Scholarship Fund through the Alabama Accountability Act because the program has changed the life of my older son.”

Success Unlimited Academy is a calming learning environment

“It makes me mad to even think about it,” said Carlos. “Other kids bullied me constantly in public school and I would tell the teachers and they wouldn’t do anything about the bullying.” Finally he decided he had to stand up for himself and got into fights. After that he didn’t care about school and college wasn’t event on his radar.

However, since being in a school where he isn’t bullied and his grades are improving, Carlos is beginning to think about what college would be best for him to attend and best for his future.

Admittedly, Success Unlimited Academy was a big surprise for him and his favorite subject is reading.

“Success is a calming place where there is no bullying and everyone wants to be your friend,” said Carlos. “Now I have a lot of friends.”

Carlos hopes his brother gets the chance to attend Success Unlimited Academy and believes that he would be the smartest student in the whole school. He also believes that his brother wants him to be successful, and Carlos wants that too for his brother.

Note: AOSF has distributed more than 10,000 scholarships and $50 million since 2014 to help thousands of low-income children in more than 30 Alabama counties.