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Austin Chamber Helps Austin Can Students Prepare for Speech to Texas First Lady

Austin Chamber Helps Austin Can Students Prepare for Speech to Texas First Lady

September 29, 2017

While honoring Texas First Lady Cecilia Abbott at the Austin Can Academy Cares for Kids Luncheon, three students—Virginia Gonzalez, Howard Griffin, and Josephine Garcia—gave an emotional speech to more than 150 attendees on how they accomplished one of their lifelong dreams—graduating from high school no matter the circumstances.

“To Austin Can Academy, when it became almost impossible to balance school, caring for my father, and other struggles of life,” said Howard Griffin, a student at Austin Can Academy. “You guys gave me exactly what I needed and for that I am thankful.”

Created in 1976, Texans Can Academy was created by the nonprofit Freedom Ministries in an effort to work with juvenile offenders. Texans Can operates 13 charter schools in Texas and has positively changed the lives of more than 141,000 students.

“I knew I had to get back in school. I didn’t want my adult life to be a repeat of my childhood. I wanted to do better for me, my dad, and my grandma,” said Josephine Garcia, a student of Austin Can Academy. “I wanted to check out Austin Can Academy because I heard they had flexible hours that allowed me to work and go to school. Before coming to Austin Can, I never imagined I would love school at all; let alone this much.”
Austin Can Academy strives to provide the highest quality education for all students, especially those who have struggled in a traditional high school setting, in order to ensure their economic independence. The school’s philosophy is centered on a nurturing environment that empowers reading, personal fulfillment, success, and good citizenship of students.

“This January, a scholarship from Austin Can will help me begin classes at ACC where I will study social work and eventually work for CPS to help children in similar situations like I was in growing up,” said Virginia Gonzalez, a student of Austin Can Academy. “Although the road ahead is not paved I gold and I do not have all the answers to how I will accomplish my dreams, I do know this—because of Austin Can, I am standing here in front of you today as Virginia Gonzalez the graduate, not Virginia Gonzalez the high school dropout.”

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