Pasco County teen graduates college, high school at same time

By Leah Masuda, Reporter
Last Updated: Monday, May 15, 2017, 5:49 AM EDT

A Pasco Count student is valedictorian at her high school and she is also going into her senior year at the University of South Florida.

She is the first in the county to do it.

  • Samantha Williams graduates from Anclote High, Pasco-Hernando State College
  • She plans to apply to dental school next month
  • Her mom says Samantha was memorizing books at 3 years old

Eighteen-year-old Samantha Williams isn't your average high school student. In fact, she hasn't spent much time at Anclote High for the past year.

"The one thing that really helps to drive me is that I like to set a goal and I like to achieve it afterwards," said Williams. "You know that satisfying feeling afterwards, I like getting that."

Williams' goals started at a young age. "Not even at three years old, I started to read to her and she was memorizing the books in the little story books," said Samantha’s mom, Julie Wu-Williams.

By the time Williams was in kindergarten, she was reading at a second-grade level.

In middle school she was taking AP classes and classes at Florida Virtual School.

"I was motivated, I wanted to go faster in the classes, I wanted to do more, and I couldn't because the teachers had to adjust the pace for everyone else," said Williams.

So Williams dual enrolled the earliest she could her sophomore year at Pasco-Hernando State College. She wrote a letter to the superintendent to get permission to enroll at USF during her senior year of high school.

"She's really something and paving the way for USF for other high achievers. I'm ecstatic about that," said Wu-Williams.

Williams plans to apply to dental school next month.

She is not only graduating high school in May. Earlier this month, she graduated Pasco-Hernando State College with an Associates of Arts degree. She will be receiving a certificate for her AA from USF as well.