February 12, 2015—School choice is highlighted in this short film from James Madison Institute called “Sharp Mind, Noble Heart: The Story of Valentin Mendez.” From Little Havana in Miami, this high school sophomore was featured in a Super Bowl XLIX commercial this year. Valentin’s experience was also covered in in USA TODAY and El Nuevo Herald.
“Nobody respected me because I was Hispanic.”
Valentin felt hopeless at his public school. He struggled with fitting in. Bullying made learning nearly impossible. For his mother, that was it. She jumped into searching for another option. A new school choice that would give a better opportunity for her son.
Valentin’s mother discovered La Progresiva Presbyterian School. The small private school was nearby and she saw that many students attended on the Step Up scholarship. After applying to the program, Valentin started. His first day? February 14, the day of love, Valentine’s Day. That was Valentin’s Day too.
He bloomed into the high achieving student she always believed in.