BULVERDE – They’ve been shuffled around foster care homes and centers — some while pregnant or caring for children. People told them the odds were not in their favor, yet five teens and young adults are now high school graduates looking toward bright futures.
"People doubted me. 'You're not going to make it. You're going to drop out.' I had to remember it's not about what people think. It's about how it's going to affect my life and my son's life. What's going to be better for our future?" said Ti'aysia Warren, 20.
That inspiring attitude is what led Warren to her high school diploma.
"I had to say a speech for the whole class, and it was fun. We took pictures. I got to take pictures with my son," she said.
Three years ago, she was pregnant with her son and moved to SJRC Texas, a foster care facility formerly called St. Jude's Ranch for Children.
The New Braunfels campus is specifically for foster girls who are pregnant and parenting.
Natalya Davis, 18, also lives at the campus with her 2-year-old son. She just graduated alongside Warren and three other girls, making up the SJRC charter school's first-ever graduating class.
Emotional, inspiring graduation for foster students, young moms living at SJRC Texas
"It makes me feel like I can accomplish anything I want to," Davis said. "Like, now that I have that, I know I can move on."
The University of Texas System's charter school opened just two years ago on SJRC's Bulverde campus.
At any one time, there are about 40-45 students who can catch up if they're behind and get one-on-one attention. Right now, the grades being taught are 6th - 12th.
"You don't feel like you're different when you're with the same people that are in the same situation," Warren said. "At a regular high school, different people look at you different, the way you are and where you're living at and stuff like that."
That's why graduation day this week was so special and emotional for the five graduates, the staff, their mentors, and their family members.
"These kids are so resilient, and they work so hard. It was probably one of my top 10 best days I've had in my career. It was incredible," said SJRC Texas CEO Tara Roussett.
Warren is enrolling at San Antonio College, hoping to be a nurse. Davis is headed to cosmetology school. They are futures these inspiring young women have earned and deserve.