Manuel Rodriguez

Manuel Rodriguez

“We switched to St. Nicholas because we heard a lot of great things about it, and because of the bullying that goes on in the public schools. It affects the kids a lot.”

“Unfortunately, my son was bullied in 4th and 5th grade so we decided to take him out because it was a constant problem. Other kids would joke about him, blame him for things he didn’t do, make fun of him, or try to peer-pressure him into doing things he didn’t want to do.”

“He didn’t say anything, but we noticed that he lost the will to go to public school. He wanted to leave early or be the last one in. When I dropped him off, he would wait basically until the last minute to go to school. As parents we noticed that, and we decided it was time to look for other educational options.”

“He moved to St. Nicholas in sixth grade. As soon as we switched to St. Nicholas our son told us that he felt the difference in the environment, values, education, in everything they teach them in the private Catholic school. From the first day, he felt welcome, and his grades improved. That same year, the principal told us about the Empower Illinois scholarships and encouraged us to apply.”

“We decided to send our daughter, Melanie, to St. Nicholas also. She expressed concerns about bullying, and didn’t want to experience what her brother did at his school. Thankfully, they both qualified for the Invest in Kids scholarships to attend St. Nicholas.”

“Immediately when she started at St. Nicks she had more self-confidence. Her teacher told us she fit in very quickly at school and adapted quickly to the environment. She had a greater love for school. She always had good grades, but at St. Nicks she did even better academically.”

“The scholarships helped a lot because there is a huge difference in the quality of education from the public schools they were attending to their private school. St. Nicholas provides more personalized attention for their students.”

“In 2020, unfortunately, we didn’t receive scholarships for either of our children. It affected us a lot because there wasn’t a lot of work, either. We had to reduce our expenses, and even still we fought hard to keep both our kids in private school. We had to sell a car in order to stay afloat financially.”

“It was a difficult year, but one way or another we were able to make It work. Thankfully, for 2021-2022, Melanie qualified and received the Invest in Kids scholarship again. She is very happy, and working very hard to keep her grades up.”

“The scholarships help us a lot because I am self-employed, and I don’t always have a fixed income. On my own, it would be very difficult to afford the tuition and fees at our local private school. The scholarship has helped me to keep my kids in a good school.”

“My wife and I talk to our children about how lucky we are as a family to receive these scholarships, and we encourage them to do their best in school. That’s the best way to show people how much these scholarships serve to improve our communities.”

“I want to thank the legislators because this is a very important program for those of us that want to offer our children a quality education with good values. We really hope and have faith they will continue these scholarships for our families and expand them to help even more people.”

Manuel Rodriguez
Chicago, Illinois

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