podcastED: South Florida mom welcomes education savings account flexibility for two sons

Aimee Uriarte and her two sons, 15-year-old Alejandro, left, and 17-year-old Sebastian, right.

On this episode, reimaginED senior writer Lisa Buie talks with Aimée Uriarte, a single parent whose two sons attend Christopher Columbus High School, an all-male Catholic school in Miami.

Older son Sebastian, 17, receives a Family Empowerment Scholarship for Educational Options, while his brother, Alejandro, 15, attends on a Family Empowerment Scholarship for students with Unique Abilities.

A Costa Rica native, Uriarte moved to the United States but left in 2008 due to the Great Recession. One of the reasons she returned to Florida was to ensure her children received opportunities for an education that best fit their needs. Columbus High fills that bill and more, she said.

Uriarte, who was among the scholarship beneficiaries who spoke during the recent signing ceremony for HB1, a major education choice expansion bill, said she looks forward to the additional flexibility the legislation will bring to her family and others.

“The Columbus staff has come through, truly as a family, I never expected this compassion regarding our family’s reality. Every family has different struggles … they are very hands on, all of them, and they’re very concerned about the wellbeing of each family.”



  • The financial sacrifices Uriarte made to send her children to private schools while in Costa Rica
  • Her reasons for moving back to Florida
  • Her younger son’s diagnosis of attention deficit disorder and how he qualified for the Family Empowerment Scholarship for students with Unique Abilities, which allowed him to leave his district middle school and join his brother at Christopher Columbus High in ninth grade
  • The opportunities provided to the boys through involvement in the school’s daily news broadcast
  • How members of the school staff have served as positive role models for the boys
  • How the new education savings account format for all scholarships will make certain therapies more affordable for both children and benefit all Florida families



Avatar photo

BY Lisa Buie

Lisa Buie is senior reporter for NextSteps. The daughter of a public school superintendent, she spent more than a dozen years as a reporter and bureau chief at the Tampa Bay Times before joining Shriners Hospitals for Children — Tampa, where she served for nearly five years as marketing and communications manager. She lives with her husband and their teenage son, who has benefited from education choice.

One Comment

Jessica Cruz

Too bad more than 50% of what Ms. Uriarte Dobles said is false. Receipts available.

Comments are closed.