By DANI BLACKBURN

When life gets tough, the tough get going, and no one proves that more than Bowie High School graduate Shelby Avara.
The high school senior has traveled an obstacle-ridden road on her journey to receiving a high school diploma, something not many in her family have done.
The adversity she faced began when she was just six-years-old as a first grader in Iowa, when her mother was killed in a car crash. The tragic accident catapulted her into a life of instability and independence.
Avara, along with her sister and father, a rancher, moved to multiple states in the years that followed, including Missouri, Kansas and Oklahoma before settling in Bowie. The family lived in multiple homes in each state, in Bowie alone the teenager is in her fourth home.
Along the way, her father began driving a semi-truck hauling cattle which took him on the road quite a bit. Avara became acquainted with being alone and faced some scary situations, including a family that held the young teenager captive.
“When my dad and sister moved to Texas, I was stuck in Oklahoma,” recalled Avara. “We had been staying with my sister’s best friend’s parents. They made me sign these papers and told me that my dad had signed papers giving up his rights to me.”
They cut off all communication between the young teenager and her father and took away all her electronic devices, forcing her to do many things like take part in religious studies every night while verbally abusing the young girl.
“They told me we would never amount to anything, and that my dad never loved my mom. They told us all kinds of crazy things, including what horrible people we were,” recalled Avara.
Fortunately, the young teenager eventually made contact with her father using an old Nokia phone, and her dad hit the road to pick up his teenage daughter and brought her to Bowie where the family lived with Avara’s aunt and uncle. It was the middle of her eighth-grade year. Bowie Junior High became the fourth middle school she would attend.
While Avara remained in Bowie, her struggles were far from over but she continued to persevere.

 

This week she looks toward the future as she graduates Bowie High School and looks back at overcoming a series of obstacles thanks to friends. Read her full story in the weekend News.