Last October Tiquila tried out for the TV show and impressed the judges enough to get a “golden ticket” to Hollywood. But after doing some soul searching, she did something unprecedented – she withdrew from the competition.

“I just felt like ‘American Idol’ wasn’t for me,” she told the Winston-Salem Journal. She told the newspaper that she preferred to return to what she knows best – singing gospel at Christ Cathedral Church of Deliverance in Winston-Salem. She also said she intended to complete her high school education through the Adult High School program at Forsyth Tech.

That attracted our attention, so we recently spoke to Tiquila about what led her to our program. She says that when she was in the 11th grade and struggling with school, a guidance counselor steered her our way. “I didn’t really drop out of school,” she says. “She just suggested that I go to Forsyth Tech and try that program.”

That was a few years ago, but so far circumstances and, Tiquila admits, her own procrastination combined to prevent her from completing the program. But now she is more determined to finish because she’s seen the importance of having a high school diploma. “When you don’t have a high school diploma, it’s hard to get jobs,” she says, “and you feel left out of the world sometimes.”

She also has a committed support system to help her reach her goal. Among those on her side is Sheri Marshall, a schoolteacher and First Lady of Miss Wilson’s church, who is helping Tiquila complete her studies. “With my new found fame, she wants me to be well prepared and know what people are saying to me,” Tiquila explains.

And once she completes the Adult High School program? Tiquila says she wants to pursue a career as a gospel singer, but also plans to study nursing, hoping to work with babies or the elderly. Ultimately, she says, she hopes to be an obstetrician.

So no, Tiquila Wilson won’t win American Idol. But she’s working hard, achieving her goals, and doing what it takes to get where she wants to be. To us, that sounds like a real winner.