Op-Ed for School Choice Week

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

It’s National School Choice Week! I want to take a moment and thank those who have contributed to my education journey. I have attended traditional and charter public schools and will graduate high school from a private school. A traditional public school gave me a great foundation. In second grade, my parents enrolled me in the then brand new eStem Charter Public School due to the STEM emphasis, location, and promising possibility of a strong public middle school. That same year, I was diagnosed with a grade II brain tumor and hydrocephalus. My eStem teachers were amazing and transitioning to middle school, seamless.  Because the school was so close to Arkansas Children’s Hospital, I missed significantly less school than had I attended my zoned schools and my parents missed much less work. As high school approached, it became clear I needed support a public school wasn’t able to provide and chose to transfer to Little Rock Christian Academy. Ten brain surgeries and many complications later, I will be a 2019 graduate with a high ACT and over 4.0 GPA. I could not be more thankful for school choice options. But not every child has the opportunities I had and I believe ALL children deserve to have access to excellent schools that meet their needs. Supporting quality school choice options is a moral, ethical, and constitutional issue Arkansans and our leaders must continue to address. My scholastic future is bright and I am able to dream big because of school choice. One can only imagine the deep appreciation I have for all who made this possible. To them I say, “Thank you.”

Mary-Kaylin O’Neal Linch

High School Senior

Little Rock