I’ve spent this legislative session as the Government Relations Fellow for SCORE. After spending the prior year working in different facets of the legislature, I was excited to have the opportunity to focus in on a specific section of policy, especially education since I know how life changing education can be.

My story of coming to love and appreciate education advocacy starts a little before me.

My grandmother grew up as a daughter of sharecroppers in rural Alabama during the Great Depression and had to quit school in the eighth grade. Despite her formal education being cut short, she would always say she never stopped learning. With a love for keeping up with current events and educating herself on the world around her, she read every newspaper she could get her hands on and made sure all her children could receive an education.

Her life was difficult, but her drive to provide a better life for her children full of more opportunities than she could have ever hoped for herself led her to send all six of her children to college, with the five girls earning their teaching certifications.

I grew up in a family of educators who all felt a passion deeper than the confines of their classroom to educate and inspire children. I benefitted from their passion as for as long as I can remember by always having someone there to read to me before I could do it myself, make sure I was reading on the appropriate grade level, encouraging me to write stories and then, write them again in cursive, and focus on higher education.

I constantly had family encouraging me to take school seriously and appreciate the opportunity that had been afforded to me that my grandmother never had, and I used that as motivation to get to college and plan my future in a way that can open doors for others to opportunities they may have never imagined.

The opportunity to work with SCORE this session has shown me many of the working parts surrounding what’s taught in a classroom from outside of it. I’ve seen that the same passion the educators I know use to inspire, motivate, and challenge their students embodied at SCORE. Dreaming big dreams for students does not stop in the classroom.

Through advocating for quality teaching and high standards for students from the statehouse, SCORE has helped ensure a brighter future for Tennessee students where they are empowered to succeed in every opportunity they pursue.

I’m thankful for the opportunity I was given to work with SCORE this session and the perspective it has given me as I complete my undergraduate degree and begin a future of working in policy.