Kansas teen Braxton Moral is taking home a degree from Harvard just days after he walked the stage to receive his high school diploma.
On May 19, Moral graduated Ulysses High School in Ulysses, Kansas. Then on May 30, the 17-year-old received his undergraduate degree from Harvard Extension School.
Moral’s story captured the nation’s attention leading up to Harvard’s 368th commencement.
“I’m proud of him,” dad Carlos Moral told “Good Morning America” today. “Not only is he smart, but he’s a kind kid. With this kind of education comes a lot of responsibility and he needs to do something positive with it.”
Moral had been gradually taking classes at the esteemed college since he was 11 years old. Harvard Extension School allows students without certain prerequisites to enroll in programs so long as they can prove they’re able to perform by way of trial classes, testing and administration voting on admission, Moral said.
“I’m relieved to have a little bit of a head start,” Moral told “GMA” on May 21. “I thought it really broadened my horizons. It helped me understand new things and what I want to do [in life].”
Some courses were online and others Moral took during the summer on campus.
Moral said his parents were big supporters.
“Harvard Extension School allows people to take classes for development, for fun,” Moral said, adding that he stuck with the courses and finished an undergrad degree in six years.
Besides simultaneously earning two degrees, Moral’s hobbies include videos games, movies and playing sports.
“[My friends] think I’m an absolute loser,” Moral joked. “No, but they’re supportive and they don’t treat me any differently.”
Moral’s sister, Brittney Jo Seger, said she knew her younger brother would be successful ever since he was in diapers counting exact dollars and cents at drive-thru restaurants for their mother.
“He always said big words and was different, but that’s when we kind of noticed, when he was about a year to 18 months,” Seger, 29, told “GMA.” “Myself and the rest of my family are extremely proud of him. He’s worked so hard to get to this point.”
Moral graduated from Harvard with an A.L.B — a Harvard Bachelor of Liberal Arts degree, which is granted by Harvard Extension School — one of the degree-granting schools within Harvard University. He majored in government with a minor in English. The ALB is distinct from the Harvard’s BA (Bachelor of Arts) degree granted by Harvard College — one of the schools that make up Harvard University.
Moral’s next stop is law school. His first choice is Columbia University, where he hopes to study constitutional law.
Kevin McGrath, an associate professor in South Asian Studies at Harvard University, described Moral to “GMA” as “a remarkable and unique young scholar.”
“Intellectually, he is extraordinary, but more than that, it is his discipline and endeavor which has enabled him to begin adult life with such startling success,” said McGrath, who taught Moral at Harvard. “Braxton, thanks to the terrific support which his family have supported and surrounded him with, has become a fine humanist and we all wish him well at law school and then, in later years, in his future life in American politics.”
Moral said he is excited to close this chapter in his life. He offered some advice to aspiring graduates.
“Visualize your goals, make sure you know what they are and the steps you need to go through to achieve them,” Moral told “GMA” today.
Moral has also written a book titled, “Harvard in the Heartland,” which can be pre-ordered through Kraken Books, Ltd.