Ms Castner grew up as a strong reader
An 18-year-old girl from Texas who was born in prison is making a name for herself after graduating from high school at the top of her class and will be attending Harvard University in the fall, New York Post reported.
Aurora Sky Castner from Montgomery County was born in Galveston County Jail after her mother was sentenced to jail when she was born. She graduated third in her class at Conroe High School, the Houston Chronicle reported.
According to the newspaper, the girl opened her application essay to the Ivy League School, "I was born in prison." In her application, she credited her mentor Mona Hamby, who has been part of Castner's life for 10 years for helping her in life.
"I was given a paper about her. 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," Hamby told Houston Chronicle.
"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," she added.
"Everything that Mona taught me was very valuable in the same way that everything that I went through before Mona was very valuable," Ms Castner said.
Mona Hamby took Castner to her first haircut at a salon, helped her get glasses and even took her to tour Harvard's campus in March 2022.
"After that trip, I saw her love for the school intensify," Ms Hamby said.
Ms Castner shared that others in the community also helped her get dental care by gifting her the experience of summer camp. A Boston University professor, James Wallace, even advised Castner on her Harvard application, according to the paper.
"He helped me to tell my story in the best way possible," she said.
Ms Castner grew up as a strong reader at an early age and joined her high school's Academy for Health and Science Professions.
"There was something satisfying about having all As and having that accomplishment," she said. "Grades just meant a lot to me."
Ms Castner told the publication that she is interested in studying psychology and philosophy at Harvard.
"I am beyond excited to be attending Harvard College in the fall," the teen wrote. "... I cannot wait to meet my fellow classmates so do not be afraid to reach out!"