February 27, 2024

Hannah Mainda: Don’t Let Anyone Stand In Between You and Your Education

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What’s a Rich Text element?

What’s a Rich Text element?
What’s a Rich Text element?

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Hannah Mainda, a student from Missouri Virtual Academy, was a recent speaker for a School Choice Week event in her home state of Missouri. We are honored to feature her story for Black History Month as we celebrate advocates from the PSO community who fight boldly for education equity. Success happens when all voices are heard in the pursuit of educational opportunities. 

Hannah Mainda was just seven years old when she began advocating for her education at the state Capitol with her mother. After moving from Michigan to Missouri, the Mainda family soon discovered that Hannah wouldn’t be able to continue with online learning due to the state’s public school attendance requirement.

Thanks to the years of their advocacy work, HB 1552 was signed into law on June 29, 2022 by Governor Mike Parson expanding access to virtual education options and giving Hannah the opportunity to enroll in the school that was the best fit for her learning needs.

“I have achieved goals that would have never happened without Missouri Virtual Learning Academy (MOVA),” says Hannah. “I have dyslexia, and the support of my parents and my teachers has allowed me to become more independent on staying on top of my school assignments… and have dedication and discipline that keeps me going each and every day.”

On January 24th, Hannah spoke at the School Choice Week event in Jefferson City where she shared her experience of advocating with her mom for HB1552 and the impact virtual learning has had on her education—specifically the role her teachers have played in helping her achieve her goals.

“My teachers have put in 110 percent of their time to work with me in tutoring sessions,” said Hannah at the event, “guiding me through my lesson plans, providing breakout sessions for my peers and I to work on various assignments as a team, and truly cheering me on every single school day.”

Hannah Speaking at the School Choice Week event in Jefferson City, MO.

Hannah shared with us that the most rewarding moments while attending MOVA is the recognition she receives from her teachers. Due to her dyslexia and having been homeschooled for a period of time prior to enrolling in MOVA, Hannah says it’s “for that reason, being recognized for my hard work, and knowing that I can do anything is the greatest feeling.”

Hannah reflects back on her opportunity to speak at the School Choice Week event and shares, "I feel so accomplished and proud of myself after making my speech. My dyslexia in the past stopped me from pushing myself in my education. Now, I know the sky's the limit and I am unstoppable. I feel so happy that I was able to speak on behalf of other children and continue to tell people how important school choice options are to children, especially someone like me who has a learning disability.”

Hannah speaks from personal experience when she says “it is so important to keep advocating for voiceless students who may feel frustrated with school. That’s what my parents did with PSO to continue advocating for virtual education to be offered for all children in the state of Missouri. I am so thankful for that, and because of that advocating, I am now a full-time virtual student with MOVA.”

Hannah’s story is a reminder to all of us of the positive impact the right education can have on the life of a student—whether it’s an online school, microschool, or charter school. Children thrive in a learning environment that is the right fit for them and Hannah hopes all children will have access to the same opportunities she has experienced. 

“It is very important that all children have the right educational option that allows them to enjoy learning and feel confident in their learning process. It is such a great feeling to have school choice options that fit not only my needs but children all over Missouri. [We need to make] sure that all children are equipped with school choice options all over the United States of America.”

Hannah plans to attend Andrews University to pursue a degree in nursing and become a travel nurse.

Her parting advice to students is: “Don’t let anyone stand in between you and your education, you got this!”


More about Hannah:

Favorite Book: Blended by Sharon M. Draper

Favorite Movie: 47 Meters Down

Hobbies: Reading, cleaning, and doing make up

Coffee or Tea? Tea  

Hannah Mainda with her family at School Choice Week

Do you have a story? We want to hear it! Email Jessie@parentsforschooloptions.org to be featured on our blog!

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