HOUSTON In May 2012, an image of a weeping Willis High School honors student, clutching a puppy and shouldering the weight of the world, captured the attention of people around the world.
Diane Tran had been thrown in jail and fined $100 for excessive truancy.
I think it s really unfair, she said at the time.
Tran s parents had divorced and moved away. She was on her own, working two jobs to support herself and her siblings.
Today, Tran is a student at Blinn College in Bryan where she is a member of the speech and debate team. She took the stage and addressed the audience at Saturday s premiere of a Houston Grand Opera production based on her ordeal.
Since 2012 when my story was released, nothing but blessings have come my way. I feel an entirely different story is being written today, she told the audience.
Diane is incredibly shy. Diane is somebody who just wanted to recede outside the spotlight unlike so many kids her age, said her attorney Brian Wice.
A writer was moved to create the production entitled Bound after he saw Tran s story on the news.
I actually saw it on KHOU, said Bao-Long Chu, a librettist. He wrote the show without ever having met Tran. He said what he planned to say to her when he came face-to-face was, You really inspired me to create a story around a difficult dilemma.
After Tran s story was seen by viewers online around the world, thousands of well-wishers sent her donations. They totalled about $100,000.
(We) will make sure that everybody and anybody who sent anything at all is going to know that she earned every penny of what they came forward with, Wice said.
Tran plans to continue at Blinn until she can transfer to a four-year university.
She no longer has heavy responsibilities weighing on her, causing her to miss classes. She is no longer Bound. There is another showing of Bound tomorrow, Sunday, February 16th.