Student Stories



Marquin came to Dallas Can Academy a year ago after getting kicked out of public school. That shattered his mother’s dreams. She had the highest hopes for Marquin. He was a decent kid who wanted to make his mom proud. Then in high school, it all fell apart. Teenage insecurity and the desire to belong pulled at him. Before he knew it, he was gripped like a vice by the allure of gang life. Just like that he had a new “family” that watched his back and made him feel powerful. Back then Marquin lied a lot and sold weed and ecstasy to make the bucks. Status within his crowd was marked by the kind of gun you carried. He got into turf fights and was involved in robberies, but somehow kept his rap sheet clean. His school record was another story.

He was out of school more than he was in school and had more than his fair share of suspensions. His last chance to get his diploma was at Dallas Can Academy. “When I came here teachers just trusted me right away. That was a big deal because no one in my life had ever trusted me before,” he said. One day Marquin asked his chemistry teacher if he thought he was too outspoken. The teacher’s response, “You make people think and that will get you places in life.”

Marquin flourished in this strict, yet nurturing environment. After a while, teachers saw Marquin drastically change. They chose him as a Campus Ambassador and asked him to speak at the Motherhood Luncheon fundraiser. I remember a particularly poignant part of Marquin’s speech. He said, “Today, I am incorruptible. I still have to fight the temptation to steal. And I have to keep from going back to my homeboys. Some days that life seems easier. But, I want to be a person of faith, positive character and strong morals, so my past needs to stay in the past.”
Marquin can’t wait to go to college. He wants to see what he can do with his music and poetry. If he hasn’t made it by the time he’s twenty-five, he’s going back to school to get his law degree. Thanks to Dallas Can Academy, Marquin figured out success is about who he is, and that’s what matters most.


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