Senior Anais Alarcon wakes up earlier than most of her classmates. She lives in Farmers Branch and rides the train to get to school.
“I wake up at 5:30, and it’s miserable,” Anais said. “I do it for my team.”
She does this so she can continue being a dance officer for the Denton High School dance team, the Fillies. Anais’ parents moved to Farmers Branch halfway through her junior year. Now, Anais rides the train to school and back home to Farmers Branch each day.
“My parents work in Carrollton, so riding the train was the only transportation I could get,” Anais said. “I didn’t want to transfer because I didn’t want to lose my friends that I already had here at DHS and I didn’t want to lose my position as a dance officer for [the] Fillies. It is all worth it. I love my team, so it’s OK.”
It takes Anais about two-and-a-half hours to get to school.
“The process I take to get to school is long,” Anais said. “I ride the DART from Carrollton, then get off at the next stop and get on [the A-train]. Then I take a bus and get dropped off near the school; then I walk to school. I arrive around 8:15.”
When Anais first started riding the train to school, her parents were worried something bad might happen to her on her way.
“I get very terrified when my daughter gets on the train,” Yasmin Alarcon, Anais’ mom said. “There are strangers, and you just can’t trust people nowadays, with all the incidents going on.”
But Yasmin Alarcon said Anais is strong and responsible and deserved to stay at Denton High.
“It’s her last year, and she has accomplished so much,” she said. “I didn’t want to take away her opportunities as a senior lieutenant.”
Anais said she feels independent, so she wasn’t scared the first time she rode the DART (Dallas Area Rapid Transit) train, but she did feel awkward.
“I was raised not to depend on other people,” Anais said.
When Anais is riding the train, she usually does homework or sleeps.
“The only time I’ve been scared was when a man that looked like a hobo was trying to speak to me and tried moving closer,” Anais said.
If Anais has morning practice, she stays over with one of her friends. Otherwise, she has an early morning, pre-departure routine.
“I have a checklist inside my brain, and I go through it,” Anais said. “But sometimes I do forget to bring my makeup, but I always have an alternate choice, so I use others.”
One week, Anais went from Monday morning to Thursday night without seeing her parents. She sees the experience as a lesson of overcoming anything if a goal is set.
“You have to try your hardest to not let a barrier stop you,” Anais said. “Anything is possible.”
FLORIBEL NÚÑEZ is a sophomore at Denton High School and a participant in the Record-Chronicle’s “Speak Out Loud” writing program for student journalists.