Two teenage siblings are the definition of what it means to be young, Black and gifted.

Haley Taylor Schlitz, 16, says she and her 13-year-old brother Ian Taylor Schlitz are already attending college after years of surpassing grade-level expectations. Haley, who told Blavity she is currently enrolled at Texas Women's University (TWU), says she began college at just 13 years old.

Their mother, Dr. Myiesha Taylor, decided to home-school both children to give them a better education.

"As a homeschooling family, my mother was determined to create an educational environment for each of us that allowed us to grow at our own speed.  She built an entire curriculum based on our likes and core skills.  We did everything," Haley explained. "We did math and science, she taught a lot of that since she has a B.S. in chemistry, and we did a lot of extracurricular activities."

Their parents, who lived in California before moving to Keller, Texas, noticed the elementary school Haley attended was not the best environment to meet her needs.

As a result of their parents' decision to home-school, both children were able to participate in an abundant amount of extracurricular activities including Jack and Jill, Rhoer Club of Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority Incorporated and Alpha Academy hosted through the Beta Tau Lambda Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.

Hayley and her mother published a book together about their home-school experience titled The Homeschool Alternative.  The book focuses on the importance of Black families being open to education options like home schooling. For Ian, this decision allowed him to exist outside of stereotypes often placed on Black students. 

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"I never loved football or any other sports. I liked to read and use technology to do new things. Being home-schooled allowed me to break free of stereotypes and focus on my interest," he said. 

Ian told Blavity he is in his first year at Tarrant County Community College. His goal is to transfer to the University of Texas, Dallas in the fall of 2019, where he was recently accepted. 

His sister, who cites Sen. Kamala Harris and Congresswoman Barbara Lee as two of her idols, notes she also attended Tarrant before transferring to TWU. 

When applying to undergraduate institutions, Haley said 17 schools, including HBCUs, accepted her. 

"I loved all the HBCUs that I was accepted into. It was so hard to say no to Xavier and Spelman.  But I was 13, and I wasn't ready to leave home," she said. "When I visited Texas Woman's University, I fell in love with a campus that was 90 percent women and over 50 percent women of color."

Haley says she was accepted into multiple law schools but has decided on the Southern Methodist University (SMU) Dedman School of Law in Dallas, Texas.

"I am excited to share I will be attending SMU Dedman School of Law.  It is a top 50 law school, and it allows me to stay close to home. I will finish my law degree in 2022 at the age of 19," she said. 

Both siblings are very well-rounded. Hayley plays piano and the harp and loves writing stories. Ian turned his love for gaming into a business, founding and running Kidlamity Gaming, a safe social space for kids to play their favorite games. 

Y'all better get your shine on!

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