A lot of us just wanted a driver’s license when we were 16 years old. School? That was an afterthought that we were legally required to attend. We had to be there, so may as well do decently at it. This young man, shall we say, has gone above and beyond what most 16-year-olds do.
Meet Braxton Moral. At 16 years old, he’s about to graduate from Ulysses High School in Kansas and Harvard University at the same time. At six months old, children begin to get their baby teeth and should have them checked out before their first birthday. While other kids were teething, it was evident that Braxton was a bit different. At three years old, he was calculating score differentials at volleyballs games and had a substantial vocabulary that was well beyond most three-year-olds.
In second grade, he was going to a different school building specifically to take mathematics and English at the third and fourth-grade levels. After that, he skipped fourth grade altogether. His academic progress was met with depression as he neared the age of 10 and started to ponder metaphysical conundrums like existential purpose.
His mother and father eventually took him to a local community college for an examination that would test his academic level. That was the aha! moment.
“They thought the machine was broken. He was like off the scale, beyond an associate’s degree,” said his father.
They were later told that Braxton needed to be challenged at higher levels. So at age 11, he started taking courses from Harvard University’s extension program. Originally designed to serve working professionals in tandem with courses at the physical university, Braxton started taking them as a pre-teen.
Not wanting to deprive him of his high school experience, the family made a four-year plan that would have Braxton finishing his high school diploma and a college degree at the same time. Now he’s set to get them both. The hardest part, he says, is that high school finals and finals at Harvard fall at the same time.
In the history of the Harvard Extension Program, the youngest degree recipient was 18 years old. Braxton will receive his diploma a few months after his 17th birthday. Then he has his sights set on Harvard Law School and a career in politics.