Student Stories



What do you do when you are nineteen, a single mother of three with a ninth grade education and no job prospects? Sounds like a challenge that most people wouldn’t be able to handle. Not so for Ruth Silva. With the help of her family and Dallas Can Academy, she found a candle to light her way.

Ruth comes across with a sense of quiet strength and resilience as she tells me her story. She came to the United States from Mexico when she was just a baby with her hardworking mother, two brothers and sister. At thirteen, she became pregnant for the first time. She completed middle school and then dropped out to work as a waitress so she could pay the bills and support her child. Ruth reflected, “My older sister who was in the service in Iraq told me I needed to make something of myself. I listened to her and decided to go back to school even though I was way behind.” Shortly thereafter, Ruth became pregnant again and was unable to return to public school. A friend had told her about Dallas Can Academy. She was told she could get through high school quickly if she studied hard. For the first time, finishing school sounded like a possibility not a dream, so she enrolled at the Carrollton/Farmers Branch campus.

Just as she started at Dallas Can Academy, she became pregnant for a third time. Fortunately, she had an abundance of emotional support from her family and everyone at the school. Ruth wondered what she was going to do with her kids while she went to school. Dallas Can Academy helped solve that problem too. Ruth’s kids went to the Early Childhood Development Center on campus while she was in class. Ruth was relieved to know they were right next-door while she was in class. Her sister kept pushing her to finish. She was able to complete her courses, but failed numerous times to pass the math and science TAKs tests.

Ruth thoughtfully recalled, “I gave up my dream of graduating, but Dallas Can Academy didn’t.” Ruth’s advisor didn’t let up on her. She kept calling to tell her to take the tests one more time. Finally she listened. Her sister was a huge motivator. She said the only thing she really wanted for Ruth was to get her diploma. “I didn’t want to disappoint her, so I came back, attended tutoring and passed the math and science TAKs tests,” Ruth exclaimed. She did it. She passed the tests, which enabled her to graduate and to get credit for the semester of college she had already started. “My sister is helping me pay my way through college. I’m so blessed to have her support. I’m doing this for my sister and my kids, but I also want to be something in life,” she insisted. Ruth’s dream was to be a nurse or a mortician. Now she’s also considering getting a degree in criminal justice. Ruth quite confidently said, “I know I can be anything I want to be thanks to Dallas Can Academy.”


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