When it comes to facing adversity, some people rise above challenges as if nothing can stop them. For Sky Castner, being born in the Galveston County Jail in Texas wasn’t going to get in the way of excelling in life. She graduated this spring as third in her class at Conroe High School and plans to study law at Harvard University in the fall.
Aside from giving birth to Castner while she was imprisoned, Castner’s mother has not been active in her life. Instead, Castner was raised by her single father. While she moved homes frequently with her dad, the two stayed within the Montgomery County limits, and she excelled in school along the way.
While in elementary school, Castner became a part of the Conroe Noon Lions Club and the Conroe Independent School District’s Project Mentor program. The latter is designed to help set students up for success. After learning her story, her mentor, Mona Hamby, decided to help guide her in personal way, too, as the two were able to bond over not having active mothers in their lives. Hamby helped Castner with her doctor appointments and took her to her first haircut at a salon. Hamby also took Castner to tour Harvard’s campus in March of 2022.
In high school, Castner became part of The Academy for Health and Science Professionals at Conroe High School, a program that helps students in science and mathematics, as well as their future applications. Here is an announcement the program posted on Facebook about Castner’s achievement:
In the fall, she was awarded a $2,000 scholarship after winning a drug awareness speech contest and giving a talk about the fentanyl crisis.
To help prepare her application to the prestigious school, she worked with a Boston University professor named James Wallace. According to The Courier of Montgomery County, Castner started her essay application to Harvard University by writing, “I was born in prison.”
Castner getting accepted into Harvard demonstrates how hard work and determination can help you reach a dream — regardless of where you started from.