Bartow, Florida -- A Bartow High School senior graduated Tuesday night after her Biology project landed her behind bars her junior year.
Kiera Wilmot had no idea her science project would get her into so much trouble and possibly keep her from earning her diploma. She and her twin sister, Kayla, were set to finish high school together, but Kiera's arrest and two felony charges almost stopped that.
"I brought in my advanced volcano project into my Biology class for my teacher to approve," explained Kiera. "My goal was to slow or stop the reaction time of the chemicals. I knew the two chemicals would react, but I had not tried it before and my friend said they would react and encouraged me to just try it in class. So I did when I should not have listened to peer pressure."
She mixed two chemicals in a plastic water bottle and the lid popped off and smoke came out. No one was hurt, but school administrators had her arrested. She faced expulsion, but ended up with a 10-day suspension and finishing her junior year at the alternative school.
"It was a hard transition on my mom, sister and me," said Kiera. "People called me a terrorist, because it all happened one week after the Boston Bombings and they were comparing me to the Boston bombers. That never should have happened."
"She has never been a discipline problem,"said Kiera and Kayla's mother Marie Wilmot. "Never had any issues. And they took her in handcuffs and took her away even before I had a chance to come and see her and talk to her. I think that was deplorable."
After thousands of dollars in court costs, a 10-day suspension, and international news coverage -- her charges were dropped and she was allowed to finish her senior year at Bartow High and graduate with her best friend.
Both girls have been accepted to Florida Polytechnic University. Kiera plans to major in mechanical and robotic engineering. Kayla is interested in audio production. They are excited to be attending a brand new university together.