Texas teen becomes the country's youngest law school graduate

B.R. Shenoy

"Anybody who's listening to me, but particularly students of color and girls, know that you should eat 'nos' for breakfast, don't let other people tell you how you should build your path. Don't let other people tell you what you can and can't do." — Haley Taylor Schlitz

Haley Taylor Schlitz, who is 19 years old, graduated from the Dedman School of Law at Southern Methodist University last week.

In the process, not only did she become the school's youngest law school graduate, but she also became the youngest Black law school graduate in the country, according to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

According to a news release from SMU, Taylor Schlitz struggled to be recognized by her public school's gifted and talented program as a fifth-grader.

Her parents decided to homeschool her, and she excelled, graduating from high school at 13. According to her website, she became Texas Woman's University's youngest graduate ever at 16.

Then, at the age of 16, she was accepted to nine different law schools, ultimately deciding on SMU, according to a news release from the university.

Per the release, she is also an author, public speaker, and advocate for "the issues students of color face in navigating gifted and talented programs in public schools."

Schlitz shared five keys to success when asked for advice for ambitious scholars like herself, per MSNBC.com.

  1. Use your community.
  2. Manage your time to make time for yourself.
  3. Create your own path. Don’t wait for it.
  4. It is possible to live and learn outside of the box.
  5. Change does not occur overnight.

Schlitz said she will begin studying for the bar exam next Monday, now that she has received her law degree.

Per CNN, Schlitz plans to work on education policy issues with the goal of increasing opportunities for gifted and talented girls and students of color. She told Essence that she aspires to be a law professor someday.

She is excited to advocate for Gen Z's needs.

To quote Schlitz:

“I say this to myself as a member of Gen Z: be ready to make the world better than you found it, but making a difference is a long game. Don’t expect to finish, even in your lifetime. Sometimes change takes generations.”

What are your thoughts on this inspiring young lady? Please share in the comments.

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