Former Turner 12 student credits program for her attorney career

Over the years, FOX 4’s Shaun Rabb has brought us the stories of the Turner 12. 

The group is made up of 12 students who agree to intense mentoring from seventh grade through high school with the belief that it can change their lives.

Shaun shows us the success a former 2011 Turner 12 student has achieved and how she is helping others all because Coach John Carter, who started the Turner 12 Foundation, believed in her.

Attorney Veronica Jacquez-Ceja, high school friend Alma Hernandez and Coach Carter look back at what was at Lincoln High School.

"Although I was able to get to where I am today, I wasn’t able to do that without the help of others, especially the Turner 12 and Coach Carter," Jacquez-Ceja said.

"I started this organization because a teacher told me that the only reason she was still teaching is because she got three months off in the summer," Carter said.

So he quit his teaching job and began pouring into kids who wanted what seemed out of reach.

Hernandez came to Lincoln as a tenth grader, brought to the U.S. by her parents as a toddler.

"At 12 years old, my dad got deported. And from then on, I didn’t have my parents," she said. "It was a family separation from 12 years on up. I just lived from home to home and wherever I could." 

Jacquez-Ceja promised to help her.

"I always knew I had to help her someway somehow," she said.

Then in 2017,  while part of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program or DACA, Hernandez was in a terrible car crash that left her with a traumatic brain injury.

"I was not left for dead. Thank God," she said.

She came back from that and her friend, Jacquez-Ceja, kept her word.

Tuesday, Alma Hernandez became a U.S. citizen. 

"It was unbelievable at the moment now," she said. "A dream came true for a dreamer." 

Hernandez accomplished what seemed out of her reach because Jacquez-Ceja was able to become the attorney she dreamed about being, thanks to Carter and his mentoring through the Turner 12.

"This proves that when you have coaches and teachers and individuals that genuinely will care about kids, and you make them believe that they can do it, they can do it," he said.