Undeterred by a crises that led her to homelessness, Angelina Solis will finish in the top 15 of her graduating class at Bryan Adams High School and attend Texas A&M University on scholarships next Fall.
At 15, Solis was a Bryan Adams sophomore, immersed in the Leadership Academy and played in the drumline of the school’s marching band. Unexpectedly, her family got evicted and had to move without a day’s notice to her hometown of Fort Wayne, Indiana.
“We were struggling, but my mom never let us see it,” Solis said. “I only had 20 minutes to pack all my clothes and whatever I could grab. That same night, my family, my dog and my turtle took the 19-hour road trip to Indiana.”
Her family bounced from house to house after arriving. The administrators of her new high school determined she’d have to repeat 10th grade. Solis missed her high school and her old life, so she attempted to return to normalcy.
She asked her Bryan Adams friends if they could put her up while she went to school. She convinced her mom to let her return to Texas and coordinated phone calls between her mother and her friend’s parents. When all was in place, she found a ride to Dallas with family members who were heading to Corpus Christi. And by the Fall of her junior year, she was back in Bryan Adams High School.
“I chose to come back by myself. I’m considered homeless because I don’t really live with my parents and just stay with friends,” she said. “That’s been a challenge, because I’ve had to keep my academics as my focus and not let my personal challenges get on the way.”
Bryan Adams High School offers Career and Technical Education through NAF Academies and a unique Leadership Academy program. Under this model, all students partake in a portfolio defense during their sophomore and senior year, where they speak about their leadership skills and academic achievements in front of a committee of educators and community leaders. Solis has been taking classes in the biomedical science pathway for the last four years.
“The (NAF) endorsement was important to me and I didn’t want to give up on what I had accomplished in the previous years,” Solis said. “This is where I started high school and where I spent two years of my life with all these people that I know now. I found a good program and a group of friends that I didn’t want to walk away from.”
Solis currently lives at a friend’s house and works at Dick’s Sporting Goods. She has already been accepted into Texas A&M University, where she plans to earn a Bachelor of Science in Health. Her mom, who is a surgical technologist, inspired her to join the medical field. Solis’ goal is to become a nurse practitioner or a veterinarian.