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Haley Taylor Schlitz, at 19 years old, is about to become the youngest African American to graduate law school, according to a news release from Southern Methodist University.
Per CBS News, Taylor Schlitz is set to graduate next week on May 13 and plans to work on education policy issues for an elected official or nonprofit organization. She also plans to find ways to expand opportunities for gifted and talented girls and students of color.
Schlitz’s parents made education a priority.
According to Essence, her parents advocated for her while in fifth grade. At the time, her test scores began to drop. Her mother suggested she was bored and needed more advanced courses, but the administration disagreed. Disappointed in the school’s response, her parents elected to home-school her instead.
“I was just being taught to pass the end-of-the-year test to get to the next grade,” Schlitz told the Birmingham Times. “I wasn’t being taught to learn.”
Haley Schlitz knows her story is unique, but shared.
Schlitz said on her website she was also not allowed to take the test to enter the gifted program in public schools. Her parents had her privately tested and found she was gifted.
“Many girls and students of color are left out of our nation’s gifted and talented programs,” Taylor Schlitz said in the SMU release. “Society will lose out on the potential scientist who cures a major disease, the entrepreneur who starts the next Amazon and so much more. All because of their gender and/or skin color.”
A prodigy in the flesh, all hail Queen Haley.
According to CBS News, Schlitz finished high school when she was only 13 years old. By age 16, she had her undergraduate degree from Texas Woman’s University and was headed to law school. At first, Taylor Schlitz wanted to be a doctor. Then she realized she wanted to fight inequality. Her experience as a person of color who was denied a chance to enter the gifted program “sparked a fire in me,” she told the Birmingham Times.
Just a year later, in June 2020, Haley was elected to serve as a delegate to the Democratic National Convention. At 17, she was one of the youngest delegates at the DNC that year.