Good morning, my name is Maximo Gaytan and I am an 8th grader at Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic School in Omaha. My principal asked if anyone was interested in speaking today about the benefits that a private school education has provided. I love my school, so I raised my hand. I transferred into Catholic school when I was in 5th grade. My family and I felt like there was something missing at the school I was at. We were looking for a school that could develop both my brain and my spirit. We wanted a school that could challenge me with high expectations for academics, and the kids would treat each other with kindness and respect. My parents wanted me to truly be prepared for the challenges of life, they wanted me to have every opportunity to be successful. My parents felt it was their duty to find the school that was the best fit for me and my siblings. So we went in search of a school to meet our needs. We found what we were looking for at Our Lady of Lourdes. It’s a special school that feels to me like home. I know the teachers and students care about me. I know I can be myself. I know that I will be expected to work hard and do my best. And I know if I do my part I will be ready for high school and beyond.
And as I spent time thinking about this speech I realized all the ways that my private school has impacted me. It has shaped my every action and interaction. It influences me today, yet all my future as well. I know that because of the structured, faith filled environment I have been part of I enter a future in which my decisions will be more thoughtful and wise.
Finding the right school was one thing, being able to pay for such an education for my 3 siblings and myself is another. My parents work hard, and were lucky enough to find financial assistance through the generosity of the school and diocese. Without this assistance the great experiences I have had at Our Lady of Lourdes would not have been possible. I would not be speaking to you today. So every day I am grateful for the educational opportunities that I have had, but I know not everyone has been as lucky as me. Nebraska is just one of six states left in the country that does not give students like me a choice in education. There are many other students in Nebraska that have not had the benefit of receiving the financial assistance necessary to attend a school that is a right fit. At Lourdes we pray every day, and I will continue to pray in thanksgiving for the blessings that I have been given. And I will also pray that other kids will be given opportunities and choice to find the school that is the best fit for them.
I thank you for your time, and may God bless your efforts.
Read more about the school choice rally here.