AUGUSTA, GA (WFXG) - Ana Tinsley graduated from Richmond County Technical Career Magnet School at the top of her class - and with three college degrees. She became a dual enrolled student three years ago because she wanted to go above and beyond the norm.
"It just means that I'm able to do more in the same amount of time that another student going right out of high school is doing, so I'm like a step ahead," Tinsley explained.
The 18-year-old high school valedictorian earned an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Criminal Justice Technology, a diploma in Criminal Justice Technology and a Criminal Justice Specialist Technical Certificate of Credit from Augusta Technical College. While enrolled there, she became a member of the National Honor Society.
"She was very vibrant, motivated and she was truly encouraged about what she heard about the information concerning the program," said Evett Davis, High School Coordinator for Augusta Technical College.
Thanks to this program, she didn't have to pay for tuition, mandatory fees or textbooks. Her instructor said her family saved about $30,000.
"She's done very well, she's been diligent, she's been responsible and she has been the model student as one of our many students who has done well in our program at Augusta Technical College," Davis added.
Tinsley wants to be a criminal profiler for the FBI. You could say law enforcement runs in her blood.
A self-proclaimed military brat, Tinsley said watching her father's career inspired her. He was in the Marines and the Army, and she said the move to Fort Gordon sparked her passion for policing."It's what I knew, it's what I was comfortable with. It was just something that spoke to me and made me really happy and enjoy going to school and doing my papers and my work and studying for my tests and whatnot," Tinsley said.
More than a dozen people who helped her through her journey cheered on their grad at James Brown Arena last Wednesday night.
As one era ends, another unfolds for this Richmond County student reaching for the stars.
Tinsley plans to study criminology at Florida Southern.