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A woman has had an incredible journey from being born behind bars to recently getting accepted into Harvard University.
Sky Castner, an 18-year-old from Texas was born in prison as her pregnant mother was serving time and so following her birth, before being moved out of prison and into the care of her dad.
She was raised by her single father and the pair moved around a lot within Montgomery County. Growing up a young Sky was determined to do well in school and was described as a "voracious reader," as per Houston Chronicle.
School staff at Reaves Elementary school noticed this about Skye but believed she would benefit from having extra guidance through CISD’s Project Mentor program where volunteers partner up with students who need a little extra time with a caring adult.
Through this scheme, Skye was connected to her mentor, Mona Hamby.
Some of the things Mona helped Skye experience with include getting glasses and her first salon haircut, dentists and orthodontist appointments as well as helping her attend summer camp.
On a personal level, the pair also bonded over not having a mother, as Skye has only spoken to her birth mother once when she was 14.
“She told me ‘I’ve been to jail.’ I said “No, that can’t be right,’” Hamby told the publication. "I knew that I can’t just go eat lunch with this kid once a week, she needed more.”
While Skye had nothing but praise for the impact Mona has had on her life she did note the value in the challenges she has faced.
“It was a very different environment than I grew up in and that’s not a bad thing,” Castner said.
“Everything that Mona taught me was very valuable in the same way that everything that I went through before Mona was very valuable.”
Skye continued to excel in her education as part of The Academy for Health and Science Professions at Conroe High School and had the assistance of James Wallace, a professor at Boston University with her Harvard application.
In her application, the student shared her unique story which includes the candid and engaging open line: "I was born in prison."
When Skye toured Harvard's campus back in March last year along with Mona and her husband Randy, it solidified her determination to attend.
"There was something satisfying about having all As and having that accomplishment," Skye said on her academic success. “Grades just meant a lot to me.”
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