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14-year-old Tri-C grad is just getting started

Amber Bennett started taking college classes at age 11. Now, she's earned a degree before even beginning 10th grade.

CLEVELAND — It’s hard to imagine beginning your college journey at just eleven years old.

But for a now 14-year-old Amber Bennett, it all paid off. She’ll graduate with an Associates Degree from Cuyahoga Community College today - before even finishing her freshman year of high school.

Amber is still a typical teenager. She loves the Cleveland Cavaliers, and she loves to sing. But her inspiring accomplishment is all thanks to hard work, and Tri-C's College Credit Plus program.

"It's really a great program for you know students who are motivated," explained her counselor Matt Kasl.

"They can go ahead and use as an opportunity to complete their college credit and earn those high school credits at the same time."

Kasl says he could see her potential right away.

"You know, the enthusiasm was really, really fun to watch and then to kind of see where the rubber hits the road, when she took off, that the motivation was just incredible and really impressive."

Kasl was already familiar with the Bennett family - he was older sister Angel’s counselor, too. She graduated two years ago at age 16. 

Younger sister Anita is next, ready to start her college journey next semester at age 11.

"It's really really fun to watch them excel, and it's really fun to watch how they pull together and how they cheer for each other and support each other and one another," Kasl said.

The Bennett sisters credit that family support for helping them reach their goals.

"My mother, oh my goodness, she's such a big help. She is very very very proud. She loves education and she actually graduated Tri-C a couple times as well," Amber told 3News anchor Dave Chudowsky.

"My dad he helps me, he drives me to and from school... and my uncle - he inspired me to go into psychology."

That's right, another degree is in the works. 

"If all goes well I should graduate with my bachelor's degree possibly before high school in 2023," Bennett said with a smile.

An incredible dream, that Amber says, is within anyone's reach.

"I would say no matter how big your dream is, or how difficult it seems, go for it and don't let anything stop you because you never know what can happen."

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