19-Year-Old Texas Student Becomes Nation's Youngest Black Law School Graduate: 'It Feels Really Good'

·3 min read
At the age of 19, Haley Taylor Schlitz is set to become SMU’s youngest law school graduate ever
At the age of 19, Haley Taylor Schlitz is set to become SMU’s youngest law school graduate ever

SMU Haley Taylor Schlitz

Haley Taylor Schlitz is making history!

Over the weekend, the 19-year-old student graduated from Southern Methodist University's Dedman School of Law. 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.

"It feels really good," she told CBS Dallas/Fort Worth. "I'm really hoping to inspire anybody who hears my story."

"We are incredibly proud of Haley and all she has accomplished during her time at SMU Law School," SMU law professor Jennifer Collins told Good Morning America in a statement. "We know she is going to make a difference in this world, and we can't wait to see all the wonderful places her career will take her."

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Taylor Schlitz's educational journey changed forever when she was in the 5th grade, SMU wrote in a news release.

At the time, her parents decided to begin home schooling after feeling "disappointed" in what she was "being taught in the public school system, and in her struggles to be acknowledged as a gifted student."

"Many girls and students of color are left out of our nation's gifted and talented programs," Taylor Schlitz said in a statement. "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."

Being able to study at her own pace helped her graduate from high school at the age of 13 and earn her undergraduate degree three years later. Then, she made headlines for getting accepted into nine different law schools.

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Her past experiences led Taylor Schlitz to an undergraduate degree in education.

"I just kind of did some looking back at my own journey, what I had gone through and how I can really use that to make the education system better for students that are coming after me," she told CBS Dallas/Fort Worth. "Then I went to law school to be able to write policy on education."

"Anybody who's listening to me, but particularly students of color and girls, know that you should eat 'nos' for breakfast," she added. "Don't let other people tell you what you can and can't do."

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The student even got a shout-out on social media from Billie Jean King. "Keep going for it," the tennis legend and feminist icon wrote on Twitter earlier this month while congratulating Taylor Schlitz on her accomplishment.

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After a weekend of celebration, the next thing on the teen's plate is studying for the bar exam, per GMA.

As for the future, Taylor Schlitz — who said she would like to work in educational policy or teach — told the outlet she has "quite a few job offers."

"It just depends on where I want to be in the country," she added.