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This month PSO celebrates advocates from the black community who fight boldly for education equity. Success happens when #AllVoices are heard in the pursuit of achievement options for our children. This week, we are honored to feature Samoy's story...
Samoy Mainda has been advocating for educational options in Missouri since 2017. And last year she saw all her hard work and determination payoff when Governor Mike Parson signed House Bill 1552 into law, allowing her daughter Hannah to access a full-time virtual school.
“That moment still brings tears of joy to my eyes,” recalls Samoy, who received the 2022 CEAM Champion for Change award for her advocacy.
“I remember the first time going to the capitol in Jefferson City, MO. I was five months pregnant with our son determined to fight for all children in the state of Missouri…years of advocating for HB 1552 was worth it.”
While living in Michigan, the Mainda family enrolled Hannah in a virtual school after she experienced “some serious setbacks and mental strain that was unacceptable at a private school.” Hannah flourished in the program, but was unable to continue attending when the family moved to Missouri due to the state’s prior public school attendance requirement. The Maindas weren’t alone, thousands of other families were unable to enroll in an online school as the state’s law allowed local school districts to override the desires of parents.
That all changed thanks to parents like Samoy who fight for education equity.
“Hannah has been able to overcome challenges pertaining to her learning disability by attending Missouri Virtual Academy (MOVA). She has excelled in her academics as well as her social skills,” says Samoy.
The 7th grader plans on becoming a lawyer and has created a YouTube channel to showcase her love of public speaking and other topics she is interested in.
“MOVA set a foundation and opportunity for our family to advocate for interests and passions that allow us to have a growth mindset,” says Samoy. “There is no better feeling when you can say, I have a goal in mind, and nothing can stop me.”
Samoy says they have found community at their school and “are building life-long relationships with some of the families.”
“Our children have been able to build friendships and bonds that I have never seen before, which is a joy to witness... Virtual school, does a great job in making sure children have occasions to engage with other peers and form friendships.”
For parents who may find themselves in a situation where they are unhappy with their child’s educational options, Samoy encourages them to “keep fighting.”
“Your children are clinging to your guidance on what to do about their education. I remember when my daughter was five years old, and told me, ‘Mommy I am a dummy’, that moment put into perspective that my husband and I would not accept the options our district wanted to give us.”
“Parents keep fighting and allow your children to advocate with you, they will have the opportunity to see first-hand how they can make a difference in their education.”
Want to share your story? We want to hear it! Email firstname.lastname@example.org to be featured on our blog and social media channels.