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Teen is getting high school and Harvard diplomas at the same time

A 16-year-old from Kansas will receive two diplomas in May — one from high school and one from Harvard.

Ulysses High School senior Braxton Moral will become the only student to complete a four-year high school degree and a bachelor's degree from Harvard at the same time, according to The Hutchinson News. He will be 17 when he gets both diplomas.

Moral's parents realized he was gifted in the third grade. "They told us, 'You need to do something. He's not just gifted; he's really, really gifted,'" Carlos Moral said. 

Braxton Moral in his high school library. Moral will soon earn degrees from both Ulysses High School and Harvard.  Sandra J. Milburn/HutchNews via AP

After a few tests, Braxton skipped the fourth grade. He started taking high school classes in middle school, followed by college classes at a local university, then classes at Harvard.

Moral is simultaneously taking high school classes and courses through the Harvard Extension School, one of 12 degree-granting schools at Harvard University. It's designed for off-campus students seeking part-time, online programs. 

His math teacher, Patsy Love, proctored most of the program, but Moral also took classes on campus in Cambridge, Massachusetts, the summer between his sophomore and junior years, which he found to be a much better experience than online courses.

Moral's experience was not without difficulties. One Harvard professor complained about his handwriting, which his father described as that of an "8-year-old," The Hutchinson News reported. Substituting some high school classes for college ones also resulted in a less-than-perfect record, which once knocked him off the high school honor roll.

Pursuing his Harvard degree didn't stop Moral from having a typical high school experience — he participated in debate, forensics, the Scholars Bowl, prom and the tennis team. 

"We constantly are monitoring Braxton to make sure he is not too overwhelmed. No achievement is worth him being unhappy," Julie Moral said, The Hutchinson News reported.

Moral is planning to complete the Bachelor of Liberal Arts program with a major in government and a minor in English. He wants to attend Harvard Law School but has always had his sights set on being a politician.

"Politics is end game for me," said Moral, who is still too young to vote.

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