I recently had an opportunity to interview Haley Taylor Schlitz, a HERstory maker, author, public speaker and respected thought leader on the issues students of color face navigating gifted and talented programs in our public schools.
Haley has spent the last few years of her life pursuing education and in May of this year she became the youngest Black American and youngest woman to ever graduate from law school in the history of the United States!
Haley’s academic success at such an early age led to international media coverage. Her decision to attend SMU Dedman School of Law was broadcast live on Good Morning America. In addition to her interview on Good Morning America, Haley was featured in the American Bar Association’s ABA Journal, Law.com, Ebony, Dallas Morning News, Fort Worth Star Telegram and on the local news broadcasts of CBS, NBC, ABC and Fox as well as on the Tamron Hall Show.
Haley is also my Soror, as we are members of Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc. and when I watched her cross that stage at graduation throwing up our hand signals my heart beamed with major pride!
When Haley was in the 5th grade, her family pulled her out of public school due to a variety of reasons including micro aggression and racism, but mainly because she was prevented from being accepted into the gifted program..
Her mom decided that she could do better and so Haley received the personalized homeschooling education that she needed which was better for both her mental and emotional health that led to her academic success. Her teacher wanted to hold her back and thought she was being challenged but her mother felt that she wasn’t being challenged enough and knowing her work ethic she needed more of a challenge which turned out to be the best decision for Haley.
The oldest of 3 siblings who had a wonderful upbringing with healthy sibling rivalry in sports, music and other games, Haley is glad that she was able to pave the way for them in their educational journey.
Haley is preparing for the Bar, and she is going to become an educator which definitely is a wonderful give back. Haley, a member of Gen Z, the generation of advocacy, justice and a wave of very opinionated youth.
Haley is currently studying for the bar, but had previously hosted an online show Zooming with Gen Z, which was a videocast where she discussed current events that motivated, inspired and impacted other awesome Gen Z’ers. They would talk about current events in the world including politics and school shootings. There were interviews of other Gen Zers doing great things that impacted their lives in a positive way as well as others who are doing awesome things academically or athletically or anything that was passion or strengths. The shows would close out highlighting an organization or an musical act that had done something that was in support of Gen Z. It was a way to have a platform and positive place to find a role model for Gen Z members.
The goal behind the show was to give back and that’s what she really wanted to do, it was the biggest and most substantive part of the show and was also the WHY. Haley started the show as a way to share and highlight the excellence of Gen Z. It was a huge motivator for the premise of the show. Haley is definitely lighting sparks in the education system and all around the world, and she is looking to create an educational environment like the one that she had; one that will allow students to thrive and grow.
Haley wanted to emphasize to anybody who listens to her, that you don’t find your path, you make it. It’s really an empowering mindset to think of your life’s journey this way: “you’re happening to life instead of life is happening to you”. It’s easier said than done of course like most things in life and sometimes that involves advocacy; Haley wants to make sure that everybody has the same materials that they need to pave their road but it’s definitely an empowering mindset to be able to take life by the reins. To know that if you don’t like the way it’s going or the way it looks you can dismantle it and rebuild it the way that you see fit; the way that it aligns with your passions and your goals and you can build your way to your beacon.
You Don’t Find Your path – You Make It!
“Everybody’s path is different, and you’re not gonna find some golden paved road with your name on it, with all the success coming to you, so if the highway, the mainstream highway is not your path, go out and make your own – it’s a good mindset to have!”
Thank you Haley – wise words from a wise young lady!
The best way to connect with Haley is via her website, www.HaleyTaylorSchlitz.com (Haley’s Hub) where you can find her books, shirts, show, bio, social media platforms and contact information.