Texas Black teen graduates from college at 15, will pursue MBA
Exclusive: “I feel really empowered because if I can graduate college at 15, I feel like I can take on the world"
Ian Taylor Schlitz isn’t your typical 15-year-old.
The Keller, Texas native lives at home with his parents, like a normal teen, but what makes him different from the vast majority of his peers is that he has just graduated from the University of North Texas. Schlitz is now headed into his graduate studies to obtain a Master of Business Administration.
His journey to graduating high school and undergrad early started when Schlitz’ parents pulled him out of public school and began homeschool at the age of 7. It was a move his dad, William Schlitz, said was the best option.
“There’s a lot of racist issues in these schools, especially from these teachers that no one holds accountable, and the children pay the price,” William Schlitz tells theGrio.
The family’s story begins in California where William Schlitz met Myiesha Taylor A friend’s wedding took them to Texas, where they are raising their three children.
Ian, their only son, has always been interested in learning. “I love learning because I’ve always had this fascination with learning, especially on subjects that I’m already involved in or interested in,” Ian Taylor Schlitz tells theGrio.
In this case, the younger Schlitz is in business with his older sister. The two of them run a company called Kidlamity Gaming — a company that allows you to organize and host a custom and private video game tournament and caters to kids between the ages of 8 and 16, as most gaming tournaments are heavily dominated by people in their 20s and 30s.
Ian’s choice of pursuing a MBA falls in line with his future goals. A future his father says has only been amplified because of homeschooling.
According to the National Home Education Research Institute, nationwide there were an estimated 4.5 to 5 million homeschool students in grades K-12 in the United States during March of 2021. There were about 2.5 million homeschool students in spring 2019, before COVID-19 forced everyone to learn at home. The homeschool population had been growing at an estimated 2% to 8% per annum over the past several years, but it grew drastically between the 2019-2020 and 2020-2021 academic years.
In the Taylor Schlitz household, with parents who value education and passed it onto their children, mediocre learning inside traditional school was not an option. “My wife and I were unwilling to sacrifice our children, their mental health and well-being just so we could say we live in a good suburban district,” the older Schlitz says.
Meanwhile, for Ian who graduated high school at 13 years old and finished his undergraduate studies at 15 years old, the road to graduating magna cum laude with a Bachelors of Science degree wasn’t easy.
“It’s pretty cool because I would say, in the beginning, there was a lot of doubt from people so it felt good to prove everybody wrong,” Ian says.
For Ian, learning is part of his personal growth and it wasn’t lost on him that as he walked across the stage with classmates five to six years older, he had achieved something that’s hardly been done.
“It felt cool to be among all of these educated people and at graduation, as I was sitting on the field with everyone else, it was nice to look around and see that I made it,” he says. Adding that the accomplishment has only emboldened him to reach for more. “I feel really empowered because if I can graduate college at 15, I feel like I can take on the world.”
If all goes to plan, Ian will earn his MBA by the time he’s 17 years old. He’s inspired by his mother, who is an ER physician, and says that medical school could also be in his future. For now, he is still fielding acceptance offers to the school of his choice and he hopes to have made that decision within the next couple of months.
Kelsey Minor is a 2x Emmy-winning freelance journalist based in New York City. You can find his work on Twitter @theKELSEYminor.
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