(ABILENE Texas) – Dayna Williams admits that she has faced obstacles during her life.

After leaving high school as a sophomore, Williams completed her high school requirements through the Texas Online Preparatory School. Without a diploma in hand, Williams explained her situation and was able to enroll in Texas State Technical College’s Emergency Medical Services program.

This summer, at age 18, she completed her EMS certification and was among the candidates for graduation. When the summer class of 2020 was announced last month, Williams also learned that she had passed the national certification exam.

“I started the (TSTC) program when I was 17 years old. I had all the odds stacked against me,” she said. “One of the main things I learned coming out of the program is that for every odd stacked against you, there are people behind you, supporting your every move.”

Williams said she always wanted to work in the medical field and “fell in love with EMS” after taking courses at TSTC in Abilene.

She said obtaining her certification from TSTC and national certification on the same day was an “ecstatic” feeling.

“It was amazing to receive that news the same day the graduates were honored,” she said.

Among the obstacles that Williams said she faced was the drug and alcohol use by fellow teenagers. While she did not give in to the pressure of using, that temptation motivated her to complete high school early.

“Once I finished high school, I did not have a diploma or transcript in my hand,” Williams said. “I took a leap of faith and asked to enroll at TSTC. I was going into this blind. I thought to myself, ‘Do the thing you’re most terrified to do, and embrace your fears.’”

Williams faced those fears and emerged victorious.

“TSTC prepared me for a career,” she said. “The clinical experience was great. I am more of a hands-on person, and it was 10 times better going through clinical sessions than having to read about it.”

As for her high school friends, Williams said they were “amazed” at her accomplishments in such a short period of time.

“All of my friends stood behind me through college. Some of them said they wish they could have done what I did,” she said. “I told them to look into TSTC because they will prepare you for a career.”

For more information about TSTC, visit tstc.edu.

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