During the holiday season, Fort Worth Report journalists are remembering their favorite stories of 2022. Click here to read more essays.

Graduate high school. Earn a four-year degree. Land a job.

That was the old mantra to a successful life so many of us were told growing up. Today, students have many paths to success, including some that only require an industry certification.

I covered this shift in how our schools prepare students for their post-K-12 life in a three-part series called “Are Fort Worth students career-ready?” This series was my favorite project in 2022.

The trio of stories were:

The best part of the series was having the opportunity to tell the story of Danielle Mares, a Tarrant County College student planning to become an American Sign Language interpreter. 

Danielle Mares is a Tarrant County College student studying American Sign Language. (Cristian ArguetaSoto | Fort Worth Report)

For most of her childhood, she was homeschooled. It wasn’t until she started attending Fort Worth ISD that the idea of going to college came to her. But that dream seemingly slipped from her fingers when her parents divorced and she became homeless.

Her brother pushed her to go to college. So did her teachers, other family members and support from the Tarrant To & Through Partnership

She will graduate from TCC in the spring. 

In October, Mares told the TCC board of trustees about how T3 brought so many opportunities to her, including having her story published in the Fort Worth Report.

“I would not be here if it was not for them,” Mares said of T3. “The opportunities are endless.”

Telling success stories like Mares’ is part of why I am a journalist. In 2023, I’ll keep doing that.

Jacob Sanchez is an enterprise journalist for the Fort Worth Report. Contact him at jacob.sanchez@fortworthreport.org or via Twitter. At the Fort Worth Report, news decisions are made independently of our board members and financial supporters. Read more about our editorial independence policy here.

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Jacob SanchezEnterprise Reporter

Jacob Sanchez is an enterprise reporter for the Fort Worth Report. His work has appeared in the Temple Daily Telegram, The Texas Tribune and the Texas Observer. He is a graduate of St. Edward’s University....