“I was on the verge of dropping out of school,” stated Melody Cherfils during the fourth annual Step up for Students Donor Appreciation Rally that was held at Miami Union Academy on December 10, 2007. “But with the financial assistance of the Step Up for Students Program and the support of Miami Union Academy I am a sophomore at Oakwood University,” she proudly declared.
Prior to receiving a Step Up for Students Scholarship, Melody had many difficulties in her public school. By the time she reached the eighth grade, she was failing all of her classes. Her grade point average (GPA) dropped below a 1.0. Melody did not foresee graduating and going to college seemed impossible.
Melody’s mother, Mellie Prophet, was determined to save her daughter. To that end she searched until she found a solution, the Step Up For Students Scholarship Program. The Step Up For Students Scholarship program provides scholarships, up to $3,750 per year, to parents that wish to take their children out of public school and place them in a private school of their choice. Currently, almost 17,000 students in Florida are attending a private schools that best meet their learning needs.
The scholarship provided Mellie, a single parent, with the financial means to send her daughter to Miami Union Academy. She chose Miami Union Academy after conducting research on all the private schools in her area. “I determined that Miami Union Academy was the best place for my child,” stated Mellie.
The teachers at Miami Union Academy worked with Melody to address her learning needs and helped her overcome the difficulties she had been facing at her previous school. By the end of her first year at Miami Union, Melodie was making A’s, B’s and C’s. During the next few years at Miami Union Academy, Melody continued to strengthen her academic abilities and her GPA continued to rise. By her junior year, her GPA had increased to a 3.0. She then began to consider going to college.
In the Spring of 2006, Melody graduated Miami Union Academy, thus accomplishing what had seemed impossible just a few years earlier. With the encouragement of Mrs. Shelly Garner, her favorite teacher, she decided to attend Oakwood University where she is studying to become a physician’s assistant. She is the first member of her family to attend college.
Mellie’s decision to send her daughter to Miami Union Academy was met with opposition from the pastor and members of the non-denominational church that she is a member of. “They told me not to send my child to that Adventist school.” It turns out that her decision to send Melody to Miami Union Academy was the most important choice she made in her life.
Not only were Melody’s academic needs meet while attending Miami Union Academy and Oakwood University, her spiritual life was impacted also. After attending a week of prayer at Oakwood University, Melody decided to give her life to Christ. She is now a baptized member of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. Melody credits her success in life to Miami Union Academy and teachers like Shelly Garner.