Sharon Grigsby | August 20, 2019
Every student, teacher, support staffer and leader headed into the new school year should hear Dallas ISD grad Cameasha Turner tell her story.
Turner grew up in a toxic mix of poverty and violence only to graduate from Notre Dame Law School in May and join a Dallas law firm. While her phenomenal success is hardly unique among Dallas students, it’s understandable if you think otherwise. That’s because we don’t share narratives such as hers nearly often enough.
Now 25 years old, Turner didn’t want to talk to me in order to toot her own horn — but because she has a message for all those students whose upbringing is similar to hers: Don’t believe you are stuck in your current circumstances for life. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Don’t think your story makes you less than others.
“The one reason I share my story is because of students at DISD,” she said. “Someone who looks like them, who comes from where they come from, made it out.”
And to those adults on campuses: Never underestimate how important you are to those kids — it’s something you, and your students, will never know until years down the road. “These were people who didn’t judge me but who worked with me,” she recalled.
The fourth of nine children in the household, Turner lived mostly in West Dallas and Pleasant Grove. Her mother wasn’t always at home, her father was in prison, and the kids often went to school hungry and in the same clothes they wore the day before.
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