Nikolas Gray

I’ve been in Memphis my whole life. I started out at New Hope Christian academy from K-6. From there, New Hope assisted me in going to Evangelical Christian School, a private school here in Memphis. If it wasn’t for New Hope, I couldn’t have attended private school.

The education in Memphis definitely varies by ZIP code and families. A lot of people cannot afford private school. It’s important that opportunities are created for people to gain that experience and access that kind of education. A quality education is very important. If it doesn’t start in grade school, the chances are a child won’t go to college.

New Hope met with my parents and convince them that it was the right choice for me. My parents are happy with that decision. They put money in, but they helped me attend a private high school afterwards. My family invested in them and they put that investment back into me.

That investment made it possible for me to go to college, too.

I went to Middle Tennessee State University and majored in mechanical engineering. I graduated in 2017 and currently work for the USDA as a technician. My K-12 education prepared me to succeed in college. Teachers supported me and the school made it possible for my success.

Out of my family, I was the only one to attend private school. And of all my male cousins, I’m the only one to attend and finish college. Education played a major part from my point of view. I am also the first member of my immediate family to earn a bachelor’s degree.

I think school choice would be helpful in Tennessee. In Memphis, it’s a problem for people to go to schools they actually want to attend. Many people have to move in with family members just so they can receive a decent education. School choice is a wise investment to create opportunities for more students and give them the option of a private education.