Student Stories



My name is Kaya and I am a Texans Can Academy alumna.

Originally from a rough Chicago neighborhood, Kaya was frequently in fights.

“That was the only way I knew how to deal with things,” she says. “It was important to show others in the neighborhood I could protect myself.”

Despite a move to Arlington that brought positive change to her family, Kaya still fought at school and skipped classes. She reached out to teachers and advisors for help, but they seemed either busy, or like they didn’t know how.

In December 2017, Kaya was involved in another fight at school. This time, she was arrested. She calls the experience “eye-opening.”

“I can do better than this,” she decided.

After the arrest, with public school no longer an option for her, Kaya learned of Texans Can and enrolled at the Carrollton/Farmers Branch campus.

“It was so different,” Kaya says. “Other students were positive. Everyone had a story and a mission they are trying to accomplish for their lives. The teachers and advisors were supportive and showed me that I was welcomed and cared for.”

During her time at the Can, Kaya never missed a class. She joined their championship-winning golf team, on which she served as captain; went from failing to straight A’s; passed the SAT with a score of 1270—which is above average—and applied to over thirty colleges.

Kaya is also a recipient of the Ann and Nate Levine Scholarship, which she will apply to her college education.

“My plan is to join the reserves and then go to college directly after boot camp,” she says. “I want to study psychology and form a career around helping girls like myself who are in difficult situations.”

Kaya graduated from Texans Can – Dallas in 2019.


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