The Texas teenager who was born inside a prison and overcame childhood poverty to earn a full scholarship to Harvard took her first steps toward her future this week when she graduated from high school.
Aurora Sky Castner, 18, made headlines earlier this week when her long-time mentor revealed her extraordinary story to the world, revealing how the “voracious reader” landed a spot at Harvard Law School, achieving a lifelong goal that she set for herself in elementary school.
Now, the footage captured the moment Sky, who was raised by her bipolar single father with the help of her mentor Mona Hamby and several other members of the local community, celebrated her successes alongside her loved ones at her high school graduation. high school on Thursday.
Photos of the teen taken outside Conroe High School in Montgomery County, where she graduated summa cum laude, show her beaming with pride as she poses in her gold cap and gown, with a snap showing her giving an enthusiastic thumbs up. her friends and friends. family.
The Texas teenager who was born in a prison and now heads to Harvard Law School on a full scholarship has been photographed at her high school graduation, after her extraordinary story was revealed to the world.
Aurora Sky Castner, 18, was born behind the walls of the Galveston County Jail, where her mother was incarcerated, and was later raised by a single father who suffered from bipolar disorder.
Speaking about her academic successes, Sky credited her mentor Mona Hamby (seen hugging the teen) with helping her achieve her dream of one day going to Harvard, a goal she set for herself when she was in school. primary.
In addition to his summa cum laude sash, Castner also proudly posed on a medal from the Academy for the Health and Science Professions at Conroe High School, an organization he has been a part of during his time there.
Another particularly moving photo captures Castner and Hamby in a warm embrace before the ceremony began, with the high school graduate hugging her longtime mentor, jokingly telling him not to cry.
It’s no surprise that emotions ran high on the historic day, particularly for Hamby, who spoke about Castner’s many accomplishments with great pride this week, recalling how the teen laid bare her incredibly difficult beginnings in life as part of the application essay that won her a place at the prestigious Ivy League school.
“I was born in prison,” the request letter began, according to the Houston Chronicle.
If that line alone wasn’t enough to grab the attention of the admissions board, perhaps Castner’s glowing academic records did.
Described as a ‘voracious reader’ when she was in elementary school, the 18-year-old was asked to join the local CISD Project Mentor program in hopes of nurturing her early talents. It was through this show that Castner met Hamby, who would become one of the key figures in her life.
Images shared on Hamby’s social media accounts reveal her close bond with Castner, with the mentor gushing in an emotional post shared a few weeks before the teen’s graduation: “The girl set herself the goal of going to Harvard in the primary school despite being born into poverty. She received a full scholarship to attend Harvard in 2023.’
According to Hamby, she knew Castner had special talents from an early age, recalling the Chronicle: ‘I was given an article on her. Her hero was Rosa Parks, her favorite food was Dairy Queen tacos, and she loved to read. I thought this sounds like a brilliant girl.
Castner proudly sported a “Harvard Required” sign on top of his graduation cap.
The teen graduated summa cum laude and finished third in her class at Conroe High School.
In addition to his summa cum laude sash, Castner also proudly posed on a medal from The Academy for Health and Science Professions at Conroe High School, an organization he has been a part of during his time there.
Castner’s successes are even more impressive when his background is taken into account. The teenager herself was born behind the walls of the Galveston County Jail (pictured) where her mother was incarcerated at the time.
She continued: ‘She told me: ‘I’ve been in jail.’ I said, “No, that can’t be right.” I knew I can’t go to lunch with this girl once a week, she needed more.
Since then, Hamby has been a lifeline for Castner, helping the young woman put on her glasses, accompanying her on trips to the salon for haircuts, and connecting her with local dentists and orthodontists for other health care needs.
But one of Hamby’s greatest contributions to Castner’s life was perhaps when she and her husband Randy accompanied the teen on a tour of Harvard last year, which was, the mentor recalled, the moment the high school student’s love interest by the Ivy League was ‘intensified’.
Hamby has been by Castner’s side on many important occasions in his life, including the high school graduate’s prom, which took place in April, just weeks before his graduation.
An image shared on Hamby’s Instagram account, which she captioned “Prom 2023 for my sweet girl!” -shows the teen posing by a lake as she wears a stunning floor-length red dress.
Meanwhile, Sky herself posted several photos from the dance, including several with her friends and her boyfriend, Nate Morris.
The teen has been very private about her academic achievements on social media, sharing just a few images of her visiting the Harvard campus in April, when she attended freshman orientation.
Castner first learned he had won a spot at the Ivy League school in December, a moment Hamby was quick to celebrate on Instagram, where he shared an image of a sign reading: “Harvard Here Comes Sky !”
Sky Castner, 18, of Montgomery County, was born in the Galveston County Jail, as her mother was incarcerated at the time of her birth. Her father would pick her up from the county jail and raise her as a single parent.
“I was born in prison,” reads the first line of his Harvard application letter.
Despite her rocky beginnings, Castner will graduate third in her class from Conroe High School, north of Houston.
In the accompanying caption, she expressed her pride, writing, “This girl put in all the hard work and dedication it took.”
In October, Hamby marked another banner week in Castner’s life, after the teen applied to Harvard and paid for her first car, all in a matter of days.
‘Amazing week for this girl!’ Hamby wrote as she shared a picture of the teen holding the deed to her new car.
Application sent to Harvard on Monday. The first car paid on Tuesday. Lots of long hours put into both. Congratulations girl! I love you and your work ethic.
On his Facebook page, Hamby spoke about the importance of his tutoring duties, writing alongside a picture of Castner in 2019: “People often ask me about tutoring. It’s something I wish everyone would do for themselves. Not just for that child who has their name on a list, you will be blessed so much more.
‘Yes, they have been identified as ‘needy’. Maybe a single parent household. Sometimes fighting at school. Maybe a behavior problem. We are all broken people, aren’t we? I urge my friends to volunteer once a week. Bring a lunch and talk/play games (checkers, connect4, etc.). You will never regret.