BAYTOWN, Texas — Meet 17-year-old Phillip Newcomer. The foster teen is graduating in the top 5% of his high school class and is headed to Texas A&M University in the fall.
“It feels really good, I have a lot of plans and hope for my future," he said.
Phillip intends to study aerospace engineering and join the Corps of Cadets.
“I was always afraid of heights as a kid but I thought it was something I could push past my boundaries of what my mind thinks it can do," he said.
And that's exactly what he's had to do growing up in the foster system.
His foster father, Adrian Chapa, was himself a foster child who aged out of the Texas Department of Family and Protective Service's care when he turned 18.
“I’m just really proud of him, I’ve seen a lot of growth in him since he’s been with us," Adrian said.
Having gone through foster care himself, Adrian said it was important to help Phillip navigate the CPS system. How Phillip ended up in Adrian and wife Lydia's care is an amazing story of its own.
“When I met Phillip he was 11, he was this small, skinny, shaggy-haired little boy that loved to talk," Adrian said.
At the time, Phillip was being fostered by a woman named Ms. Cynthia. Turns out, she was the woman who fostered Adrian when he was a child. When she grew too old to take care of Phillip, Adrian and his wife knew they had to step in.
"I started seeing his name everywhere, so I took that as a sign from God, from the universe, this is something that we need to do," Lydia said.
Now, Phillip is a big brother to the couple's other three kids.
“I have been able to relate to him because we both went through the foster care system, I know that I can go to him for anything," Phillip said.
With Adrian's help, DFPS said Phillip was able to take advantage of all the resources offered to him, including getting a vehicle and receiving tuition waiver assistance.
“He always has a home here, that’s one thing I always want him to know," Lydia said.
It's knowing that he has a home that Phillip says has given him the freedom to grow and imagine his own future.
“I want to be able to focus on myself and my family and also be able to give back to all the people that have helped me," he said.