BY Dollita Okine, 10:00am June 13, 2024,

Florida teen shares how she bagged college degree at 14

The Tampa teen started taking high school courses while she was in the sixth grade at Icon Preparatory School. Photo Credit: Fox29

Keniah Washington recently graduated from Florida’s Saint Leo University with a 3.0 GPA, obtaining her Liberal Arts associate’s degree at the age of 14.

The Tampa teen started taking high school courses while she was in the sixth grade at Icon Preparatory School. Her teachers pushed her and a few other gifted kids to take virtual classes, and they placed her in a dual-enrollment program after realizing how outstanding she was.

Even though graduating early meant missing out on many of the festivities that children her age looked forward to, Washington urged herself to remain focused.

She told USA Today, “My biggest challenge was being on track and not trying to fall behind. I was missing out on prom and homecoming—everything other people experienced in high school. But I told myself that… I’m doing the high school courses now so I can finish school early, so it doesn’t really matter if I go to prom. I just kept [encouraging] myself.”

Her mother, Thomesha Hawkins, described watching her kid walk across the stage in May as a momentous event. She recalled that it was a feeling that “is so hard to describe,” saying, “I was proud, I was excited. It was a bunch of different emotions that you feel just because it is mind-blowing. She’s done something amazing and great at such a young age.”

The astute teenager told the publication that she hopes to soon be in a formal educational setting with her peers.

She said, “I want to experience working with other people and being in class with a whole room full of people, not just a few kids. There is a lot to learn because I’m going to be the youngest one in there. I want to experience college life, living on campus, and other things like that.” 

“I want [to explore] other parts of the world,” she added.

Washington has been accepted into nursing schools and is now excited to start school in the fall to pursue her dream of becoming a neonatologist.

She told Fox29, “I think hard work definitely pays off in whatever you put your mind to you can definitely accomplish and finish.”

Last Edited by:Mildred Europa Taylor Updated: June 13, 2024


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