Texas Girl Born in Jail Defies the Odds by Making It into Harvard

A Texas girl born in jail has defied all odds by graduating at the top of her class and will attend Harvard University in the fall.

Eighteen years ago, Aurora Sky Castner was born in the Galveston County Jail as her mother was imprisoned at the time of her birth. The newborn was picked up from the jail by her father, who raised her as a single parent. Her mother didn’t play a role in her life.

“I was born in prison,” Aurora opened her application essay with this line.

She worked with a professor at Boston University to write her application essay and was accepted into the Ivy League school through early action, and she plans to study law.

“He helped me to tell my story in the best way possible,” she told the Houston Chronicle.

Castner also credited her mentor Mona Hamby for her success, whom she met in the elementary school at Reeves Elementary School.

“I was given a paper about her. Her hero was Rosa Parks, her favorite food was tacos from Dairy Queen and she loved to read. I thought this sounds like a bright little girl,” Hamby told the Houston Chronicle. “I still have that paper today.”

“She told me: “I’ve been to jail.” I said: “No, that can’t be right,” the mentor said. “I knew that I can’t just go eat lunch with this kid once a week, she needed more.” 

According to Mona Hamby, when Aurora told her about her childhood and how she missed her mother, and there has always been a void inside her which made her think she was not like others and won’t be able to achieve her dreams, Hamby decided to teach her more than simple guidance about school activities. She thought Castner needed more ‘personal moments and growth.’

“So Hamby helped Castner with things like picking out glasses and getting her first salon haircut, according to the outlet, while dentists, orthodontists and other community leaders helped Castner with her teeth and to enjoy important childhood experiences, such as summer camp,” per PEOPLE.

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

Last year in March, Castner visited Harvard University with her mentor Hamby and her husband Randy, and that tour intensified her love for the school and the institute in particular.

“After that trip, I saw her love for the school intensify,” said Hamby.“It was a very different environment than I grew up in and that’s not a bad thing,” Aurora told the Chronicle. “Everything that Mona taught me was very valuable in the same way that everything that I went through before Mona was very valuable.”

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Sources: Houston Chronicle

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