Conroe, TX

Against All Odds: Texan Girl Born in Jail Achieves Remarkable Feat, Tops Class, and Earns Harvard Admission!

Ash Jurberg

Inspiring journey: Texas girl's birthplace doesn't define her success as she graduates on top and is heading to Harvard!
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The unique and inspirational story of Aurora Sky Castner has gone viral today as new has spread of her incredible feat.

Castner graduated third in her class at Conroe High School Thursday night - eighteen years after being born in the Galveston County Jail.

Castner didn't shy away from her unusual start in life, starting her admissions essay with the line, "I was born in prison." Her mother was incarcerated at the time of her birth, and soon after, her father picked her up from the prison and raised her as a single father.

She has received a lot of support from the local Conroe community and was part of the CISD’s Project Mentor program, where Rosa Hanby was her mentor, and the two formed a close bond. As part of the program, Castner and Hanby would meet at least once a week and discuss Castner's needs, goals, fears, and future.

It was a very different environment than I grew up in and that’s not a bad thing. Everything that Mona taught me was very valuable in the same way that everything that I went through before Mona was very valuable.” Aurora Castner

In March 2022, Handy and Castner toured Harvard together, and now, just over a year later, the dream of attending Harvard has come true. She will initially study psychology and philosophy with the aim of a future law degree.

Given her determination and drive, no one doubts she will achieve this.

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