Despite being born in prison, a remarkable young girl has defied all expectations and secured a place at the prestigious Harvard University.
Meet Sky Castner, who entered this world within the confines of Galveston County Jail. Her mother’s incarceration left no lasting presence in her life, as Sky’s father took on the role of a single parent, raising her after picking her up from the jail.
Throughout her upbringing, Sky and her father relocated frequently, but this determined young girl always had her sights set on attending Harvard. Eighteen years after her birth in prison, Sky achieved the impressive feat of graduating third in her class at Conroe High School, opening the door for her to study law at the renowned institution.
In her application letter to Harvard, Sky boldly began with the sentence, “I was born in prison,” a testament to her resilience and determination to overcome adversity.
Meanwhile, as per reports from the Houston Chronicle, sources claim that Sky displayed exceptional academic prowess even as a young girl and had an insatiable appetite for reading during her elementary school years. However, the staff at Reaves Elementary recognized her potential and believed she would benefit from additional guidance to ensure she reached her full potential.
That’s where Mona Hamby, a dedicated mentor from CISD’s Project Mentor, stepped in. Mona shares her encounter with Sky, stating, “I was given a paper about her. Her role model was Rosa Parks, her favorite indulgence was tacos from Dairy Queen, and she had a profound love for reading. I immediately sensed the brilliance in this little girl, and I still hold onto that paper to this day.”
Interestingly, Mona and Sky developed a strong bond over their shared experience of not having a relationship with their respective mothers. Mona reveals, “She told me, ‘I’ve been to jail,’ and I initially couldn’t believe it. I knew that simply having lunch together once a week wouldn’t be enough; she needed more.” As Sky’s mentor, Mona provided guidance beyond the academic realm, assisting her with significant milestones such as her first salon haircut, selecting the perfect pair of glasses, and helping her discover enjoyment beyond the confines of school.
Reflecting on her mentorship journey, Sky expresses, “It was a completely different environment from what I grew up in, and that’s not a negative thing. Everything that Mona taught me was invaluable, just as everything I had gone through before meeting Mona held its own value.”
In 2022, Sky’s determination to attend Harvard grew stronger after touring the esteemed campus alongside Mona and her husband. Seeking assistance for her application, she turned to Professor James Wallace of Boston University. Grateful for his guidance, Sky acknowledges, “He helped me craft my story in the most impactful way possible.”
Truly, Sky’s journey is nothing short of inspiring. Her accomplishments fill us with immense pride. We invite you to join us in celebrating Sky’s incredible ability to defy the odds.
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