Samantha Custer | A Louisiana Mom’s Remarkable Story with ACE

Zip Code Crisis and School Choice Alternative

In almost all communities in America, schools are assigned to students based on 5 simple numbers, their zip code. Unfortunately, this crisis leads many students to attend failing local schools that do not give them the proper education and guidance needed to succeed and become our future leaders.

ACE Scholarships has a mission to provide students in underserved communities with the opportunity of school choice and for every child to have access to quality education. Thanks to our generous supporters and incredible partner schools, we are able to continue to create change in America’s education system.

Below you will find the story of an ACE parent in Baton Rouge, Louisiana who with the help of ACE Scholarships, is able to send her children to the school of her choice where they will best succeed outside their zip code.

“ACE Scholarships Made it Possible”

We had the pleasure of hearing from ACE Parent, Samantha Custer, at the ACE Scholarships Louisiana Luncheon this past November. Samantha shared her story of gratitude for ACE and the opportunities provided to her two sons, Knox (6) and Kullen (10) at partner school Parkview Baptist “during a challenging time” says Samantha.

Samantha went through the school system in Baton Rouge where she was “subjected to an environment of violence and drugs where it was hard to learn and grow.” She wanted a different future for her children, “I wanted my boys to wake up and actually look forward to going to school every day. I wanted them to be amongst role models, mentors, and other broad-eyed students, eager to learn…I didn’t want school to make them tough but rather build their confidence and inspire them to dream.”

After Knox and Kullen unexpectedly lost their father, Samantha was determined to find a way to keep them at Parkview Baptist, a school they have attended since kindergarten. “Being a single mom, I didn’t know how I was going to afford tuition … taking them out of Parkview at this time in their life just wasn’t an option.”

After taking a leap of faith and applying for financial aid, she qualified for a scholarship from ACE. She was able to keep her children in a school with a nurturing environment where “they learn about Jesus, develop lifelong friendships, and experience life-changing opportunities.” Samantha says.

Samantha has immense gratitude for the opportunity of parental choice in her children’s academics and future, “ACE scholarships made it possible. I wish more families knew about it. The ACE scholarship helps me be in charge of my children’s education.”

Samantha also emphasized her appreciation for Parkview Baptist, “Parkview is known as one of the best schools in Baton Rouge. She stated, “We get more support at Parkview than I think we would have gotten at a public school. I am grateful for ACE and for Parkview for all they have done to be sure my sons get the education and support they need to reach their full potential and pursue their dreams. Because of ACE, Kullen and Knox are able to stay at Parkview, a school that they love.”

Additionally, Samantha spoke on the effect the pandemic has had on the American education system and the importance of ACE, “with the added impact of COVID-19, our students have fallen even further behind, making ACE more relevant today than ever before…ACE saves kids like mine who are at risk of falling through the cracks.”

There are so many amazing students that have the potential to graduate and go on to college but because of their zip code, they will not gain the tools needed to succeed. ACE steps up to provide qualifying families with educational alternatives that will change lives.

Samantha’s story is one of the many remarkable ones that show the importance of ACE and school choice. She is able to see her boys thrive and shared her gratitude for that, “school choice has changed our lives and we are forever grateful.”

Below you will find Samatha’s full speech at the 2022 ACE Louisiana Luncheon.

Additionally, you will find an informational video that captures her story as well as provides a closer look into ACE partner school, Parkview Baptist.