Student Stories



Her father was an aggressive alcoholic who beat his wife and children on a daily basis.

Her mother would try to escape and run away with the children in an effort to keep them safe, but Anna Marie’s father always found them.
When she was five-years-old, her father strangled her mother with a belt until she lost consciousness, and then he kicked her baby sister across the room.
Anna Marie saved them by calling 9-1-1 and her father was put in jail for a short period of time.

Once again, her family relocated with the hope of starting over without him. Unfortunately every time they tried to escape he would always find them.
So the drunken cycle continued, along with the assaults.
After coming home from middle school one day, she found her mother sobbing in the bathroom from yet another beating. Anna Marie called the police and this time her father was deported.

From then on, pain and anger was the only thing that veiled the hidden burden of her past.
“I was a bad kid when I was younger,” says Anna Marie. “I got in trouble, went to jail, and was ordered to go to behavior class.”
At 15, she became a mother and moved in with the baby’s father. However, he was not supportive of her continuing her education and was not responsible with the baby.

So Anna Marie dropped out of high school.
She then moved back in with her mother and siblings, but her mother gave her an ultimatum: go back to school or go to work.

It was a decision of a lifetime. Anna Marie had watched her brother give up his dream of going to college so he could help support the family, but she knew she wanted more for her life – so she enrolled at Dallas Can Academies.

Anna Marie has been at the Can Academies for two years now and is on track to graduate in 2018.

She says the flexibility of attending the school’s half-day sessions made it all possible.

She didn’t have to choose whether to support her family or get an education.

With guidance from her teachers and advisor, she continues to research colleges with nursing programs. Her goal is to care for elderly patients and to make a better life for her daughter and the rest of her family.

“I’m proud of myself for getting out of a bad situation,” says Anna Marie. “Without Dallas Can, I would not be in school. I would never have gone back.”

Student name has been changed to protect the privacy of individuals.


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