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Byron Del Pinal


Byron Del Pinal’s first year in high school was a fairly normal one.He participated in football and did well in his classes. He moved to a new school his sophomore year and found similar success.However, his family moved yet again during his sophomore year and he enrolled in his third high school in two years.

Things changed for Byron after the second move. He started skipping school and his grades suffered.He remained in the same high school his junior year but finished the year not passing one class.He began his fourth year at that same school as a junior rather than as a senior and saw no hope of graduating with his class or joining the military which was his dream.

After visiting with Marine recruiters, he decided to go to Guatamela and get his high school diploma there. He was very successful and graduated in October of 2009. He returned to the ready to fully engage in the military lifestyle but was shocked when the Marine recruiters said that they could not accept his Guatemalan high school diploma for admission to the Marine Corps.

Determined to achieve his dreams, Byron visited with Tony Swafford, principal of the Fort Worth Can! Academy River Oaks campus, about completing the coursework he needed to meet the credit requirements and pass the TAKS tests to qualify for a Texas high school diploma. Swafford outlined the five credits he needed to meet graduation requirements, established his daily schedule, and made arrangements for him to get the needed tutoring to prepare him for the TAKS tests.

In less than one school year with Fort Worth Can! Byron earned 1.5 credits and passed all three TAKS tests he needed to graduate.He now needed to finish the 3.5 credits required for graduation during the final quarter of the year.Normally, students can earn 2.0 credits during one quarter.Byron worked closely with Stanley Carr, River Oaks credit recovery lab teacher, and was able to finish the 3.5 credits.He walked across the stage to receive his diploma June 4, 2010 in front of his very proud family and Fort Worth Can! teachers.

Byron’s dream came true entering the United States Marine Corps soon after graduation and has since finished his thirteen week basic training.Byron recently returned to the River Oaks campus to thank the teachers and staff for helping him reach his dreams and to remind the students that anything is possible if you are only willing to work hard to achieve it.

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