She was accepted into the Ivy League through early action and looks forward to studying law when she attends the school.
A Texas girl, who was born in prison, is all set to attend Harvard University this fall. She recently graduated from high school at the top of the class, reported PEOPLE. Aurora Sky Castner was born in the Galveston County Jail 18 years ago. Castner graduated third in her class at Conroe High School on May 25, 2023. She told The Courier, "There was something satisfying about having all As and having that accomplishment. Grades just meant a lot to me."
The teen's mother was reportedly in jail when she gave birth to her. However, her father picked her up as a newborn and raised her as a single father. Since then, the mother has had no role in her life. Castner opened her college application to Harvard with the sentence, “I was born in the prison.” Later, she was accepted into the Ivy League through early action, and she looks forward to studying law when she attends the school in the fall.
She moved around a lot with her father but was always in Montgomery County. When she was at Reaves Elementary School in Conroe, staff members saw her potential and decided to get her some guidance from CISD’S Project Mentor Program, which connects community volunteers with students. Mona Hamby became her mentor. “I was given a paper about her. Her hero was Rosa Parks, her favorite 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,” said Castner.
After Castner opened up to Hamby about her parenting ordeal, Hamby felt that the kid “needed more” than just a guide for school activities. She could also use some personal time with her. So, Hamby began to work closely with Castner. She helped her get glasses and get her first haircut. Meanwhile, dentists, orthodontists and other community leaders helped Castner with her teeth and to enjoy essential childhood experiences, like summer camp.
“It was a very different environment than I grew up in and that’s not a bad thing,” Castner said. “Everything that Mona taught me was very valuable in the same way that everything that I went through before Mona was very valuable.” Castner and Hamby bonded over the fact that they didn’t have mothers. The teen revealed that she spoke to her mom once when she was 14. Warner Phelps, president of the Conroe Noon Lions Club, said that the Club members have known the kid since she was in elementary school. "She's grown up with us," Phelps said.
Castner also won a drug awareness speech contest organized by the club last fall and received a $2000 scholarship. "She earned it," Phelps said. "Her poise and presentation skills stood out." Moreover, Castner has also been a part of The Academy for Health and Science Professions at Conroe High School, which she said has helped her to do well academically.
Hamby and her husband, Randy, even toured the Harvard University campus with Castner in March 2022. That experience helped her decide she wanted to attend the school later this year. “After that trip, I saw her love for the school intensify,” Hamby said. Other than Hamby, Castner also took help from James Wallace, a professor at Boston University, for her Harvard application. “He helped me to tell my story in the best way possible,” she shared.