Chicago’s charter schools give my daughters the chance to grow

My journey as a mother hasn’t always been easy, but one thing I know for sure is that my family and I wouldn’t be where we are today without the education my daughters have received here in Chicago.  My name is Carol Coker, and my daughters Ayana and Shawana have had the chance to grow and succeed thanks to Catalyst Maria and Muchin College Prep.  It has been my joy as a parent to support Ayana and Shawana during their journeys throughout middle and high school.

Ayana is now a freshman at Graceland University, studying business administration and sports management.  She has shown such growth over the past four years, and I couldn’t be more proud of her.  Iyana was born with a drive and ambition that only grew stronger during her time in high school.  Ms. Sasha Fawaz at Catalyst Maria gave her the opportunity to explore her goals and apply to college. Ayana was challenged in a way that made her a stronger student and young woman.

The teachers at Catalyst Maria, Ms. S Fawaz, Ms. K Bies and Mr. D Laster was the ones that went above and beyond to make sure that both of my daughters were doing well.  They stayed after school to help Shawana and Ayana on subjects that they might have been struggling in, and they even bring them home from school!  Since I have struggled with Fibromyalgia, it was always helpful having that support both during and after school.

Now that Ayana is off at school, Shawana now attends Muchin College Prep. Her Aunt works in the building where Muchin is. So when it gets hard for me to be there for her when I might not have the strength to pick her up from school if I need to or be at a parent’s meeting. Her aunt steps in for me. Although she is just 14 years old, I have seen her ability to grow. Shawana was a member of the basketball and touch football teams at Catalyst Maria.  Between the community atmosphere in the building and after school during her extracurriculars, Shawana is growing up to be just as ambitious as her sister.  I am proud of my daughters for their drive, and happy that they have attended schools that help them realize their true potential.