Girl who was born in prison defies the odds by making it into Harvard
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A girl who was born in prison recently made her dreams come true as she got accepted into Harvard University.
18-year-old Sky Castner, was born behind bars as her mother was incarcerated while pregnant, and taken from the prison by her dad, who raised her as a single father.
A diligent student, Sky graduated third in her class at Conroe High School and will soon be heading over to Massachusetts to study law at the prestigious university.
According to the Houston Chronicle, Sky was a hard working student right from the start, being a 'voracious reader' in elementary school, but the school felt she could do with a little bit of guidance to give her an extra boost.
Reaves Elementary put Sky in contact with a woman named Mona Hamby, as part of a mentor program where volunteers in the local community spend time with students the school thinks would really benefit from a bit of extra time with an adult.
The two bonded over not really knowing their mothers. Sky only having spoken to her mother once when she was 14, and Mona recognised that the girl needed more than just a bit of mentoring once a week.
Hamby said: "She told me 'I've been to jail'. I said 'No, that can’t be right', I knew that I can’t just go eat lunch with this kid once a week, she needed more."
And more she gave, helping Sky figure out important bits of adulting like getting a pair of glasses and going for a haircut.
"It was a very different environment than I grew up in and that’s not a bad thing," Castner said as she went on to explain that she found 'something satisfying' about getting high grades in school.
"Everything that Mona taught me was very valuable in the same way that everything that I went through before Mona was very valuable."
"There was something satisfying about having all As and having that accomplishment. Grades just meant a lot to me."
Eventually she had her sights set on going to Harvard and got help preparing her application from Professor James Wallace of Boston University.
Sky opened her application to Harvard with the very honest and engaging line: "I was born in prison."
Mona and her husband Randy, also took Sky to tour the Harvard campus in March 2022, which cemented the 18-year-old's decision that it was exactly where she wanted to be.