KERSHAW COUNTY, S.C. — Kershaw County's newest school resource officer Atiana Chestnut feels like she can relate to students and is glad to be able to share some of the lessons she learned along the way.
Chestnut said her journey was not easy. "I lost my mother at a very young age. I was nine when she passed," Chestnut said. "I had a little bit of trouble in high school, in and out of school, was suspended a couple of times."
But Chestnut didn't let life defeat her. "It's like, okay, if you put your mind to it, and I've always said if you put your mind to it you can make something of yourself if you want, too," Chestnut said.
Chestnut said she made it her mission to be a leader and she credits her transformation into a law enforcement career to the Jackson Teen Center: Boys and Girls Club, which hosted her swearing-in on Friday.
Years later, she finds herself excited to help those in the community.
"I wanted to work with more at-risk kids, like myself," Chestnut said. "I'm originally from Kershaw County, so this is home, you know? And all the kids be like, 'Oh, it's Ana,' because they know my nickname. They be like, 'Oh, it's Ana. I'm like what's up?' I went to school with they moms and dads, so I know them".
Chestnut was happy to be surrounded by friends and family as well as several leaders from the community when she was sworn in on Monday.
"All those people that was there, I really do appreciate it because Kershaw County is a small town, but the support and outpouring they showed on Friday, they let me know they were behind me and law enforcement, in general, and it's refreshing."