When their son was ready to start kindergarten, Lindi Fuelling and husband Tyler knew they wanted to send him to a school close to home, a smaller school where Gabriel could thrive. One that offered small classroom sizes and close connections with teachers, principals and school staff.
Thanks to the Lutheran Scholarship Granting Organization (SGO) and later, the Indiana School Choice Voucher program, that is exactly what they were able to provide for their son.
“Gabriel is absolutely thriving at St. Peter Immanuel Lutheran School,” said Fuelling. “Our principal and pastor greet students at the door every morning,” said Fuelling, “and everyone at the school shows genuine care.”
For example, when Gabriel found a caterpillar and brought it to school, the pastor and principal took the opportunity to make a closer connection. “They got down on Gabriel’s level and took time to look at the caterpillar,” said Fuelling. “They didn’t just watch Gabriel walk on by.”
Fuelling also appreciates the school’s quick response time whenever she has a question. “The school doesn’t have thousands of students and parents to attend to,” said Fuelling. “My guy is a good student,” she said, “but he struggles to focus sometimes.” The teachers want to work together with parents and help children succeed as a team.
“They really see Gabriel as a person. He gets a lot of individual attention. I know he won’t fall through the cracks,” she said. “We don’t have to wait for a parent-teacher conference to get feedback about our son.”
Initially, the Fuellings were able to send Gabriel to St. Peter Immanuel through assistance from the Lutheran Scholarship Granting Organization (SGO). But when it appeared that, even with that assistance, the Fuellings might not be able to make it work, they learned about new opportunities through the expanded Indiana School Choice Voucher program, which ensured that Gabriel would be able to stay at a school where he was thriving.
“The local public school is very large,” said Fuelling. “Some parents of public school students are worried about some of the ideas taught in their children’s classrooms. These children are exposed to a wider range of opinions that don’t necessarily reflect our Christian ideals,” she said. “I don’t want my child exposed to certain types of content at this young age.”
At first, Fuelling was hesitant about receiving any kind of assistance. “I come from a family that values living off your own means,” she said, “so I was a little hesitant to apply.” But when she considered that she and her husband have paid into the system and worked their whole lives, she decided to pursue this opportunity through the school choice voucher program. “We don’t get assistance in any other way,” she said, “and this is a worthy cause.”