HS student starts small business to help family earn money during pandemic

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Houston's graduating class of 2021 has overcome some of life's toughest challenges, compared to other high school senior students across the country.

"We didn't get to do as many things as we would've liked, such as homecoming or senior trips, but overall things have been the same," said David Quarles, a senior at Cypress Christian School.

The COVID-19 pandemic, which started during these students' junior year, forced many to learn from home and find creative ways to stay connected with classmates.

"It's been a rollercoaster, I can say," said Kamren Lang, a senior student at Mickey Leland College Preparatory. "I don't think I ever expected it to end up like this."

For Mariela Garcia, the pandemic meant finding a way to make money for college, after her mother lost her job during the pandemic, leaving only her father to support the family.

"So, because I had extra time on my hands, I decided that opening up my own small business would be a great opportunity because I was starting to apply to colleges and it was getting expensive," said Garcia, a senior at Eastwood Academy High School. "I didn't want my family to have all this stress."

WATCH: Houston HS student starts small business to help family earn money for her college expenses
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Mariela Garcia said she didn't want to burden her family with her upcoming college expenses in the midst of the pandemic. So, she found a way to make some money.

She now spends her weekends baking and selling Mexican pastries through her business, Hecho con Amor pastries, at the Yellow Cottage Farmer's Market in Livingston.

Adjusting to the challenges of the pandemic hasn't been the only obstacle. A few weeks into their high school career, Hurricane Harvey devastated Houston.

Lang's family got stuck at his house when seeking shelter and several students reported damage to their school.

February's winter storm also left its mark, cancelling classes and damaging more homes. Despite the many challenges, these students say it made them stronger.

SEE RELATED STORY: Texas schools still tallying storm costs, and some won't reopen soon

"I think that these last four years was a great experience for us on life," said Nila Segobin, a senior at Dekaney High School. "We know that things are going to happen and pop up out of the blue, but is that going to stop you from getting to where you want to be and reaching your goals?"

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