Student Stories



Imagine growing up not knowing where you would get your next meal from or where you would be able to sleep safely each night. It’s unimaginable for most of us. But it was reality for Hillary.

At the age of two-years-old, Hillary was taken from her mom and placed into Child Protective Services and was transferred from foster home to foster home.

Today, she’s 19-years-old and on her way to graduation with her 9-month-old baby girl.

“It’s been hard for me going from shelter to shelter and in and out of foster care. When I finally thought things were getting normal, people want to adopt me and then they don’t. It’s hard on you.”

Hillary was always in search of her ‘forever home,’ but when you are forced to live with strangers, you never know what each day has in store.

“I finally gave up on trying to get adopted and just stuck with being in foster care. I accepted the fact that I would be there until I was 18. So I ran away, like every other teenager does.”

The lack of control that comes from being a foster child caused continual insecurity for Hillary. She believed it was normal for a teenager to run away from home.

After running away, the endless battle for stability continued; she became pregnant.

“I knew I wasn’t going to be able to take care of the baby, but I didn’t want to end up like my mom and lose my daughter. At that point I didn’t think I was going to finish school either, but then at the shelter where I was living, I was told about Texans Can.. I was finally determined to do better and be better. I didn’t want my daughter growing up thinking it’s okay to not finish high school because her mom dropped out. I want her to think ‘my mom did it, I can do it too.’

“On my first day at the school, I thought it was all good vibes. I was welcomed by the advisors, the principal, and some of the teachers, too. I was really happy. I went from ‘I don’t know if I want to do this’ to ‘I think this is going to be a good experience.’

It was life changing because a lot of kids drop out of regular high schools and they don’t come back.

Texans Can was actually like a home when I was there. I had classes with most of the teachers there. And they truly want to see everyone graduate and do something with their lives.

The learning processes are even a lot different from other schools. Marquez Reading helps us listen and understand material. A lot of the kids begin here and don’t know how to read, but with Marquez Reading we are able to learn. It also helps us bond with each other and the teachers.

I use those skills all the time now, including those listening skills. Other schools are loud and people are always skipping class. At Texans Can people check up on you and make sure you’re okay. The classrooms are also a lot quieter and you don’t get distracted.

When you walk in there’s always someone there to greet you. It’s very different, a good different.

Being here has changed me a lot.

I know if I was with my mom today, I wouldn’t be the person I am. I would probably be out in the streets doing some horrible things.”

Today, with her 9-month-old daughter clinging to her side, she will walk across the stage at graduation. Hillary is determined to change the cycle she grew up with, and in doing so, changing the future for her daughter as well.

“Right now I’m still living in the placement I am in for the next couple of weeks. I plan on moving to Fort Worth, getting my own apartment, and taking classes online. In the future, I want to become a therapist or counselor at a shelter so I can help other people get through life.”

Hillary has learned to motivate herself with the desire to help others despite her hardships because of the help that Texans Can Academies gave her.

“I want to tell everyone, don’t quit. Quitting is not worth it. This school helps a lot. I came here not caring, but I’m leaving here caring so much.

A lot of people think Texans Can is going to be like every other school, but I can guarantee you it’s not like any other school. They’ll actually push you and motivate you to do better so you can be someone in life.”


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