HOUSTON - Tucked away in Houston's east end is Austin High School. Thousands of students have walked these hallways since it opened in 1936, but many have feared dreaming big.
"I was so nervous my hands were shaking," said senior Abigail Calva.
Calva dared to dream.
"When I clicked to see the decision, I read 'congratulations' and I just screamed, stood up and started crying," said Calva.
This fall Calva will head to Cornell University. She's the first Austin High student accepted at an Ivy League school in 33 years. It's a drought counselor Victoria Salinas took way too long to snap.
"I find it hard to believe that it's taken this long to produce a student that is Ivy League material," said Salinas.
Salinas helped Abigail craft her essays and walked her through a tough application process.
"I felt rejection was coming my way," said Calva.
But Abigail stood out and now Salinas says the future architect major is an inspiration to future students.
"To see someone from their community, a product from the east end, and she's going to Cornell, I think that speaks volumes to what the children of our community are capable of," said Salinas.
This daughter of immigrants has left her mark at a campus desperate to believe again.
"If you have a dream, don't be afraid to do it," said Calva.
She's teaching fellow classmates dreams don't die in the east end, that's where they're born.
"Her life, her family's and those to come after her is never going to be the same," said Salinas. "That's what I hope kids going to school feel that."
Austin High School's alumni network will fly Calva and Salinas to Ithaca, NY to take part in a campus tour later this spring.
© 2018 KHOU-TV