Against All Odds: Girl Born In Prison Earns Admission To Harvard

A young woman who was born while her mother was in prison has achieved her dreams by being accepted into Harvard University.

Meet 18-year-old Sky Castner, who entered the world behind bars as her mother was serving time. She was then raised by her dedicated single father who took her away from the prison environment.

Despite moving frequently, the determined Texan always had her sights set on one place: Harvard University.

Sky's hard work paid off as she graduated as the third highest-ranking student at Conroe High School. Soon, she will be embarking on a journey to Massachusetts to pursue her passion for law at the prestigious university.

The Houston Chronicle reports that Sky was a dedicated student from an early age. She was known as a "voracious reader" even in elementary school.

However, the school recognized her potential and believed she could benefit from some additional guidance to help her excel even further.

Reaves Elementary connected Sky with a woman named Mona Hamby through a mentor program designed to pair students with caring adults from the community. The school believed Sky would greatly benefit from some additional time and attention.

As fate would have it, Sky and Mona found common ground in their experiences of not knowing their mothers well. Sky had only spoken to her mother once at the age of 14.

Recognizing the deeper need for support, Mona realized that Sky required more than just weekly mentoring sessions.

Hamby expressed: "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."

Mona went above and beyond, assisting Sky with essential aspects of adulthood, such as getting glasses and scheduling 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."

Sky had a strong desire to attend Harvard and sought assistance from Professor James Wallace at Boston University to prepare her application.

Her application to Harvard began with a candid and captivating line: "I came into this world in a prison."

In March 2022, Mona, her husband Randy, and Sky visited the Harvard campus, solidifying the 18-year-old's conviction that it was the perfect place for her.