ANGELINA COUNTY, TX (KTRE) - An East Texas teen is will earn her Associate's Degree before getting her high school diploma.
The Pineywoods Academy student, Brayli Yarborough, was recognized by the Angelina County Commissioner's Court earlier in the week on Tuesday.
"The first year of college, it was rough," Yarborough said.
At 17, Yarborough has already experienced college classes.
At first we were with the regular high school students, because they wanted us to get regular to it and then afterward it kind of went with the flow," Yarborough said.
Yarborough is a high school senior at the school. Two years ago, her mother gave her the option to enroll in the Academy that would allow her to take college courses. She agreed and took a keen interest in child and family development which will earn her the Associate's Degree.
"Ever since I was growing up, I was one of the oldest in my family, like the grand kids and all that, and so I always wanted to baby sit them and be with them," the student explains.
She uses the babysitting memories as a motivating tool to overcome the challenges she faces when managing the dual course load.
"I went up to mom one day and I was just like, 'Mom I'm done. I can't do this no more.' And she said 'Brayli, you're halfway there. You better just keep going.'" Yarborough said.
She constantly pushes herself to test her limits and all the while using a support system to help her through.
Her instructor Chandra Cheshire said the young student is focused while balancing her multiple roles.
"She's very organized. I've known that. She writes down everything that she's got due and kind of goes through and check it off," Cheshire said.
The high school student draws inspiration from her siblings to constantly stay ahead, while offering this advice to others.
"If you hold back, and take forever to do it, then it's going to take longer," Yarborough said. "If you go ahead and strive towards it now, it will help you in the long run. Whenever you graduate high school, Congratulations, you got two years done, but if you want to wait until you start than ok than you got four years. You decide."
The teenager also has a part-time job. Her plans after high school are to attend Stephen F. Austin University and major in social work.