Florida's military community has a new addition: Ashanti Curry of Jacksonville graduated last week from the United States Naval Academy.
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ActionNewsJax first introduced you to Curry when she was 17 years old and her dream of attending the Naval Academy almost didn't happen.
>> On ActionNewsJax.com: ActionNewsJax helps Naval Academy hopeful get dad's signature for admission
Her smile says it all. It’s even more of an accomplishment when you consider what it took to get her here.
In 2013, the honor student faced losing her academy acceptance because it required both parents’ signatures.
Her father, former Jacksonville Jaguars player Eric Curry, was never in her life and had an arrest warrant out for unpaid child support. Her attempts to get him to sign all failed.
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“This man has never made one decision in my life, but the most important decision that needs to be made he has that in his hands. I was very upset,” Curry said at the time.
It took phone calls to Eric Curry, his attorney, U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson’s office and eventually a temporary stay of his arrest warrant.
But finally, Curry got the signature she needed.
Now, five years later, she's graduated from the Naval Academy. Her first salute was to her stepfather, a gunnery sergeant in the Marine Corps.
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Curry is now writing the next chapter to her story, a story of service that Jacksonville and our country can be proud of.
Curry's mother contacted ActionNewsJax’s Paige Kelton on Facebook this weekend with pictures and two words that were a reminder of the power one person’s story can have. The picture was of Curry’s graduation, the words – “thank you.”