A young woman who was born in prison is now set to study law at Harvard University.
Sky Castner, 18, from Montgomery County, was born in Galveston County Jail while her mother was incarcerated - with her going on to be raised by her father.
Still living in the state of Texas, the Conroe High School student graduated third in her class on Thursday (25 May) and will study law at one of the world’s top universities.
Castner credits her mentor, Mona Hamby, who is not associated with her high school, for her success. The teen was an enthusiastic reader and staff believed she would benefit from CISD’s Project Mentor Program, where children are paired with an adult to help care and mentor them.
Caster met her mentor in this programme which has clearly turned out to be hugely impactful.
“I was given a paper about her, Hamby told the Houston Chronicle. “Her hero was Rosa Parks, her favourite food was tacos from Dairy Queen and she loved to read. I thought this sounds like a bright little girl.
“I still have that paper today.
“She told me: ‘I've been to jail,’ I said: ‘No, that can’t be right,’ Hamby recalled. “I knew that I can’t just go eat lunch with this kid once a week, she needed more.”
According to an Instagram post Hamby shared in April, Castner will attend the renowned Ivy League university on a full scholarship.
'Girl set a goal to go to Harvard in elementary school despite being born in poverty. Received full scholarship to attend Harvard in 2023,” she captioned a post featuring a picture of her mentee.
Hamby has been present throughout Castner’s life ever since they met, including the time she got glasses, or needed a haircut and even on a tour of the Harvard campus.
“After that trip, I saw her love for the school intensify," Hamby told the Chronicle.
Caster has only spoken to her birth mother once when she was 14 years old, the Houston Chronicle reports.
“It was a very different environment than I grew up in and that’s not a bad thing", the teen 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.”
Castner achieved all A’s and enrolled in the Academy for Health and Science Professions at Conroe High School before going on to secure a place at Harvard.Featured Image Credit: Facebook/Sky Castner