Kansas teen will graduate Harvard before high school

ULYSSES, Kan. (KSNW) — A 14-year-old Ulysses student is balancing high school while attending Harvard online. He’s set to graduate from both before he’s 18.

“You know the first thing anyone is going to say about me is ‘Oh he’s that kid that goes to Harvard,’” said 14-year-old Braxton Moral.

But his story starts in the first grade. That’s when he was tested as gifted. By third grade, he was bored and unchallenged in school.

“He got very depressed,” said Julie Moral, Braxton’s mother. “He basically had what most of us have when we’re 40. ‘Why am I here, what’s my purpose in life, is god real?’ Just huge, huge depression. It was a hard, hard time in our life, actually.”

Because he was only nine, the local community college did not let him take classes.

So Braxton decided the next place to apply, naturally, was Harvard.

“Everyone wants their niche,” said Braxton, “and so I figured Harvard would be a stepping stone. Hopefully not a stumbling block.”

If Braxton stays on track, he’ll graduate from college a week before he graduates from high school.

“I was thinking about the other day how surreal that actual day will be,” he said, “but it’ll be a fun experience.”

He’s made an impression on many public figures. He’s met with Senator Pat Roberts and keeps in touch with Justice Sonia Sotomayor.

“They came and got us and took us to Justice Sotomayor’s private chambers,” said Carlos Moral, Braxton’s father, “and he’s sitting there having a discussion with her about John Locke!”

But the high school sophomore is just a typical, outgoing teenager with a messy room, who just happens to also be a Harvard sophomore who writes essays for college about the Ayatollah.

Like many students, the biggest drawback is paying for college.

“[It’s] painful,” said Julie. “It costs a lot. He has some scholarships, but they can’t pay for everything. And because of his age, he isn’t allowed to have any federal help.”

He’ll be 17 when he graduates from Harvard and has big plans for himself after that.

“I know every kid wants to say they want to be the president,” he said, “but I think it’d be cool to be any position of power in politics, just to say you’ve been it. You know, make a difference.”

Braxton will have plenty of time to make that difference. He’ll be eligible to run for president in 2040.

Braxton says he’s glad to be treated as an equal by both his high school and college classmates.

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