The Texas teenager who was born inside a prison and has overcome childhood poverty to secure a full scholarship to Harvard took her first steps towards her future this week when she graduated from high school.
Aurora Sky Castner, 18, graduated third in her class at Conroe High School on Thursday – with her mentor by her side.
The teen, from Montgomery County, was born in Galveston County Jail, where her mother was incarcerated.
Castner made headlines earlier this week when her extraordinary story was revealed to the world by her longtime mentor – who revealed how the ‘voracious reader’ landed herself a place at Harvard Law School, achieving a life-long goal that she set for herself back in elementary school. DailyMail reports.
Now images have captured the moment that Sky, who was raised by her single, bipolar father with the help of mentor Mona Hamby and several other members of the local community, celebrated her successes alongside her loved ones at her high school graduation on Thursday.
Photos of the teenager taken outside of Conroe High School in Montgomery County, from which she graduated summa cum laude, show her beaming with pride while posing in her golden cap and gown – with one snap showing her flashing an enthusiastic thumbs up to her friends and family.
It is no surprise that emotions were running high on the milestone day, particularly for Hamby, who spoke about Castner’s many achievements with great pride this week, recalling how the teenager laid bare her incredibly tough beginnings in life as part of the application essay that earned her the spot at the prestigious Ivy League school.
‘I was born in prison,’ the application 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 the trick.
Described as a ‘voracious reader’ when she was in elementary school, the now-18-year-old was asked to join the local CISD Project Mentor program in the hopes of fostering her early talents.
It was through this program that Castner met Hamby – who would go on to become one of the key figures in her life.