Student Stories



If you happen to be the oldest in your family, it’s likely you’ve heard someone tell you to set a good example for your younger siblings. Unfortunately, Ismael’s older brother didn’t set that good example for him.

From the day he was born, Ismael lived with his mom and dad, but his parents never got along. His dad worked and his mom stayed home most of the time to take care of Ismael and his brother and sister. Life was relatively uneventful for him until he got to high school. He got through middle school without any problems; he played sports and had good friends.

When Ismael was a freshman, he started to hang around his brother and his friends who were two years older. Ismael said, “I felt important being able to do things with older kids, but there was also a lot of stuff they did that wasn’t good. I never did anything really bad like drugs because I knew they weren’t good for me.” Ismael’s brother on the other hand tested the limits and found himself in jail. While Ismael tried to separate himself from this stuff, he still lost interest in school and wound up with eighty absences during his freshman year. That was enough to send him to juvenile detention. On top of that, he had to go to court for truancy. Sophomore year, he was so far behind with his credits that his counselor suggested he go to Dallas Can Academy for a year to catch up. He was told he could transfer back the following year. That wasn’t necessary because once Ismael started at Dallas Can Academy, he didn’t want to go anywhere else.

When he first arrived, he didn’t want to be there, so he didn’t do his work. But it didn’t take long for him to get used to it. His grades started improving and he made some good friends. “At public school my math teacher would sit me in the back of the class because I didn’t understand. My teachers here cared about what I learned and they gave me extra help. It’s hard to believe, but at Dallas Can Academy, math was my favorite subject” he remarked.

Ismael graduated from Dallas Can Academy a year ago and he’s been working at Sonic ever since. He’s been saving his money so that he can go to Brookhaven College in a few months. He wants to take his basic courses there and then transfer to a university. Right now, Ismael is living with his dad. His mom returned to Mexico with his brother who was arrested and deported. With sadness in his voice, Ismael said, “I’m sorry my brother never turned his life around. Maybe if he’d come to this school when he was younger they could have helped him too.”


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