School Choice Success Story

Making the Grade

Ronald Holassie, a D.C.-area student, has lived on both sides of the school choice debate. He attended public schools where fighting was often more common than learning. By the sixth grade, Ronald was failing most of his classes. He has a natural gift for composing music, but was so far behind in reading that he struggled to write lyrics.

Ronald’s mom, Carmen, didn’t see a way out: She was a single mom without a high school degree, making ends meet with housekeeping and babysitting jobs. One day, she spotted a bus ad for an opportunity scholarship. That enabled her to send Ronald to a Catholic high school, Archbishop Carroll.

“The teachers actually cared and wanted you to do your work,” Ronald told Focus on the Family Citizen magazine. He graduated in June 2011 and has started recording his own music.

“I never thought I would be doing what I’m doing now. Some people kind of doubted me, that I could make it to this point,” he said. “But I really proved them wrong.” Since then, Ronald has testified at U.S. congressional hearings in favor of giving parents and kids more school choice.