Student Stories



“All my life, I’ve had people tell me ‘you’re not going to be anything, look at your family, no one has done anything. That’s going to be you too.’”

There was a time when Muriel believed it. She was always told what to think. Failure had been engraved in her thoughts. What else would she become?

Well in February, she’ll be a Certified Nursing Assistant with the help of Texans Can.

“I would literally let other people eat me up with their words. I got it stuck in my head that I wasn’t going to do anything. I would even tell myself I’m not going to graduate.”

Muriel never knew the meaning of support.

She never had a real shoulder to lean on or someone to encourage her to dream bigger than the streets of Oak Cliff. She had no balance, no security. Nothing gave her hope.

Hopelessness seemed to grasp each corner of her life. At her previous school, she felt like no one believed in her either.

“There was a lot of pressure at my old school. It was like they would downgrade you because you were Hispanic. It’s like they looked passed you, just like everyone else in my life did.”

Muriel felt paralyzed with defeat.

“So I started doing things that weren’t right. I lost myself.”

Then, one day a few words changed her life.

“I met Mr. Salazar at my job, El Ranchito, and we were just talking. I was his waitress. He told me he was an advisor at Texans Can and how I shouldn’t waste my talent. I wasn’t convinced right away because I thought it’s where the bad kids go. That’s what people think so that’s what I thought.He said it wasn’t true, they have a nursing program he would help me get in because I was telling him how I like to help other people, especially the elderly. He didn’t even know me, but it felt so genuine.”

Muriel began to see the glimpse of light at the end of the tunnel, a sense of hope she had never felt before, until she approached her family with the idea of transferring schools.

“I lived with my grandma and had to convince her because my uncles would say it’s not a real diploma, it’s just a paper. I was getting calls 24/7, from family I don’t even talk to saying ‘why are you going to that school, you’re not going to be nothing. You’re already nothing so why are you going.’”

It could have been the last straw. She could have given up and continued living check by check as a waitress, but her ambition wouldn’t let her.

She refused to let her insecurities cripple her. She made the choice to flourish at Texans Can, with or without her family behind her.

“I came to orientation by myself, my grandma came and signed, then left right away. Afterwards, I told myself this is a new journey for me. I have to prove everyone else wrong. I had to regain confidence, even now I’m still insecure, but I tell myself to calm down and breathe, I’m not going to fail. I have all these people at Texans Can that care for me now. When I first came I didn’t have enough credits, yet here I am today on my way to graduation. Having advisors like  Mr. Salazar and an assistant principal like Miss Michelli talk to me makes all the difference. It’s literally all about the environment and how everyone treats you like family. They give you a reason to not give up. They give you the hope you didn’t have before. My other school never helped. They didn’t care, they never even asked how I was doing. So when I learned more about the CNA program, I was like oh my gosh I have to. I know I want to become a nurse, besides singing, I want to help other people, and bring joy into their lives.”

Despite the lack of support she endured, Muriel has always found ways to put others before herself.

“I would go downtown to feed the homeless and sing to them. On Thanksgiving I like to go to nursing homes, sing to them, and see happiness in their faces. They’re like me, all they want is someone to care about them. Now I finally have so many.”

After learning she got accepted into the CNA program, she was in awe.

“It was such a blessing, I couldn’t believe it. I was actually going to be somebody. It was all only made possible by Texans Can. All the advisors did was talk to me, pull me to the side, tell me ‘you’re going to make it because of all the support you have. You’re not alone, you have us.’ It was good to hear positive things. They see the potential in you others don’t see. I never thought I would graduate. I never looked forward to school. Now I’m sitting here looking into colleges. With the CNA program, I know I already have job opportunities. I’m excited to graduate this year. I know good things are going to happen. I’ve also come to realize, life’s like a rollercoaster, even if you’re doing good, something could happen and you could spiral down. You just need to have hope. Texans Can gave me the hope my family never did. I have a younger brother looking up to me. I can’t let him down and let him think all those bad things are okay. I hope to impact lives. It’s just so cold out here, you need to have people remind you you’re cared for and nothings impossible. Texans Can showed me that. If it wasn’t for Texans Can I wouldn’t have found meaning to anything. I would have dropped out. Being here brought me hope and so much support. I’m so thankful for it. People say they don’t want to come here, bad things happen here, but it’s not like that. Everyone’s here because they want to be someone better. This school has motivated me from being one of the lowest people to one of the top, looking better than before. To everyone, the teachers, and all the people supporting the Can academies, keep doing what you’re doing. You’re helping kids like me find themselves.”


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