Teenager graduates from both high school and college at the age of 16

by Dr Boyce Watkins

A teenager in Florida has done something that might seem impossible on the surface , but is quite probable for those who want to accomplish more.  At the age of 16, Grace Bush is not only a high school graduate, she is also a graduate from college.  The teenager got international attention by earning a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from Florida Atlantic University along with her “measley” high school diploma. 


What an amazing black woman.

Grace was a participant in Florida Atlantic University’s dual enrollment program, which allows students to get both high school and college credit for the same classes.  This helps families to save on the expensive cost of college attendance.

“It’s kind of weird that I graduated college before high school,” she told CBS Miami.

Grace is one of nine children and she started college at the age of 13.  She studied in the summers and also plays in two orchestras.   Her mother, Gisla Bush, homeschooled all of her kids and noticed that her daughter had an early eagerness for learning.

After finishing college at 16, Grace says that she wants to get a masters degree and head to law school.  She eventually wants to be Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court.

 After teaching at the college level for the last 20 years, I can say that I’ve seen quite a few Grace Bush’s.  When I see Grace, I don’t just see the future of Black America, I also see the product of parents who understood their role in shaping a young person’s universe.  Had Grace’s parents seen her talents early and ignored, limited or misguided them, she would not be the person she is today.  Many male geniuses in the black community too often find their extraordinary talents diverted to the football field or the basketball courts. 

Grace also reminds me of another black genius you might have heard of by the name of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.   He graduated from high school at the age of 15 and finished college at 19.  Much of the reason that Martin was the great man that he was had to do with his parents, who taught him the importance of discipline, goal-setting, hard work and academic achievement at a very early age.  They also taught him two other things that made him into a legend:  Don’t walk in fear of racism and use your greatness to elevate the people you care about.

Great adults are the product of extraordinary seeds that are planted early in the life of a child.  We could have a thousand Grace Bushes if we wanted them.  We must be sure to invest in our children.

Dr Boyce Watkins is a Finance PhD and author of the book, “Everything you ever wanted to know about college.”  To have Dr Boyce commentary delivered to your email, please click here. 

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