Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Essence and I am an alum of Columbia Grammar and Preparatory School on Manhattan’s Upper Westside. Before making my debut into the unknown world of private school, I was a public school student. I often recall the days of being one of thirty students in a class, where only one teacher was left in charge.

There were days teachers broke down crying because they were unable to continue with their lesson plans due to disruptive students. These students were removed from the class and ended up roaming the halls. This was a daily occurrence in my life. I loved to learn and longed for a safe, warm, encouraging environment to be myself. I was constantly made fun of and was given the name of “teacher’s pet” by my classmates.

Years prior, my parents and I applied to private school. We applied for 5th and 6th grade, but I wasn’t accepted. When it was time to apply to 9th grade, my parents and I did  things differently. This *magic formula* allowed me to become a student at Columbia Grammar and Preparatory School.

I thrived both academically and socially. A girl from 155th street (Harlem) in Manhattan was given the opportunity of a lifetime! I’ve been fortunate to have experienced the Hamptons and Fire Island with the kindest people I had ever met.

I had been given the opportunity to become myself during those crucial formative years. I volunteered at the Children’s Museum of Manhattan in 9th grade. I then starteda  babysitting business for families with children who attended the lower school. I did this in 10th grade until after I graduated from college.

After graduation, I became a career nanny for a year. In 2011 I worked in the admissions department at Columbia Grammar and Prepatory School. I also had the amazing opportunity to work as an Associate Teacher as well as an assistant in the lower school’s library.

I give 100% of the credit of who I am today to her going to private school for grades 9th-12th. She attended the George Washington University in Washington, DC for college and obtained a B.A. in Psychology. I don’t think any of this would’ve been possible without my private school education.