Hi friends, family, and any strangers finding themselves reading this post! My name is Isaiah ("Z") McCollum. I am 14 years old, and I am about to start high school on August 7, 2017. I have lived in the heart of Los Angeles my whole life while my parents worked and ministered to people in our neighborhood. I was homeschooled in elementary school due to the limited options available in this area. When I entered public school in 7th grade I started to struggle personally, getting into trouble and losing ground academically. I was heading for disaster and almost gave up. Here is a photo of me in my "wandering" phase.
But thankfully, with God's help, I have made a recent turn for the better in my life.
It All Started with the LAPD Cadets...
In June 2017 I successfully completed the Los Angeles Police Department Leadership Cadet Program. This intensive 15-week training in leadership, character, and physical fitness literally saved my life at a time when I was on the wrong path. Being an LAPD Cadet has taught me discipline and inspired me to go to college and join the military. I want to become a commissioned officer in the United States Army Special Forces (a.k.a. Green Beret) to empower disadvantaged peoples to rise up against their oppressive dictators. Attending the high school of my choice, Army and Navy Academy, will enable me to reach that dream. (More about the school later...)
My Personal Testimony...
Here is a video of the talk I gave at my church in May 2017 to honor one of the motherly influences in my life. I had a rocky start to my teen years, but I've come such a long way thanks to the loving support of people like Krista, my parents, and so many of you. Thanks for watching!
Donations for School Tuition Needed!
I am asking for your help raising money to attend an amazing all-boys military boarding school called Army and Navy Academy. This is one of the top three military boarding schools in the country. Located in Carlsbad, California, it is close enough for me to spend weekends at home with my family in LA. Three weeks ago my dad and I visited the school for the first time and I applied right away. Last week I got accepted!
Why Army and Navy Academy?
My parents and I never thought about sending me to a military boarding school until last month. My dream has been to attend a high school with a strong JROTC program. Sadly, the schools in my area which offer this program are struggling. They have gangs and low test scores. Also, the support for JROTC is waning and one school I was considering closed their program at the end of last year.
Then I heard people talk about military boarding schools. I always thought they were reform schools for troubled kids. However, Army and Navy Academy is a prestigious boys-only college-prep high school. Kids from all over the nation and globe attend this school. They have a nearly 0% drop out rate. Many of their graduates attend prestigious military schools such as West Point, which is another dream of mine. I've toured the campus twice, met with teachers, staff and students, and I loved what I saw! They have the military structure I need to stay focused. They use teaching methods designed for how boys learn. The fact that it is an all-boys school with retired military personel as father-like mentors is what I need to feel like I can be myself and learn. Plus, I would get to play on their water polo team - a sport I've played for the past several years!
What I've Raised Already
The total cost for this top-notch school is $44,350 per year. The Admissions office at the school said I applied late so the most financial aid I can expect to receive is $5,000 (we're still waiting to hear back to know for sure). My parents, who are raising me and my three siblings, will be able to contribute $11,000. And so far my incredible relatives have pledged $15,500. Very humbling. I also plan to earn about $2,000 myself by working when school is not in session (winter break, spring break, and summer). That amounts to $33,500 already raised.
I still need $10,850.
I've raised 75%! Below is a breakdown of the costs. Perhaps you could help with the other 25% of these expenses?
Breakdown of Costs
$38,625 Boarding Tuition
$ 2,825 Uniforms and Haircuts
$ 700 Books
$ 750 Laundry
$ 700 Incidental Account
$ 500 Early Start Athletics Training (Water Polo)
$ 250 New Student Fee
By the way, my mom and dad talked with the school's Financial Aid office. They said they don't think we will need this much financial assistance from friends and relatives after my first year at this school. By maintaining good grades and applying early for financial aid next year, I can get a much better financial aid package in the 2[phone redacted] school year. My goal is to work hard during this 2[phone redacted] school year to make that happen.
Thank you in advance for your help with raising my school tuition. Anything you can do to help is GREATLY APPRECIATED!
Additional Details from Phil McCollum (the owner of this GoFundMe Campaign account)...
Hi Guys. I'm very proud of my son, Isaiah, and all that he has accomplished to get to this point. Isaiah lives with his mother (Meredith) and me and his three siblings in Los Angeles, CA. All the funds you donate to this campaign will be used to pay for Isaiah's school tuition and fees at Army and Navy Academy in Carlsbad, CA. A breakdown of the specific costs are outlined above by Isaiah. When I withdraw the money you donated to this campaign, I will send it directly to Meredith's and my personal checking account, which we will use to make payments directly to the school. This will happen very soon because school begins this month (August)! We'll post updates here whenever we make payments to Army and Navy Academy.
Thank you so much for supporting our son!
- Kelly Mack
- Brooke & Pedro Vasquez
- Heather Fonseca
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