This Friday, 16-year-old Grace Bush will walk across the stage and receive her high school diploma from Florida Atlantic University High School. Graduating two years early would normally be something to brag about, but for the young woman from Hollywood, Florida it's not even at the top of her list, because Grace Bush will get her high school diploma after she's already received her bachelor's degree in criminal justice.
Ms. Bush's alma mater, Florida Atlantic University High School, offers a program that allows their higher performing students the opportunity to accumulate college credit while they're completing high school. As a result, the precocious Bush was able to begin taking college courses at the tender age of 13. She's continued to do so throughout her tenure at FAU high school, earning a 3.81 GPA - which seems miraculous given her daily workload.
Bush, who comes from a family of 9 siblings, was always a bright child even among her accomplished older sisters. Her mother, Gisla, 49, who has home schooled each of her children, noticed her daughter's excellence early on. "She was very accelerated," Gisla says. "She started reading at 2, and she could perform as well as her older sister, who was three years her senior."
When Grace was young, Gisla says, "I sat her in my lap and read to her every day for a few minutes so I could move on to do what I needed to do with my other kids. Then one day I saw her reading by herself and from that point on she did everything her other sisters did."
On a typical day, young Grace Bush rises at around 5:30 in the morning. She arrives at school before the 8am bell and spends a strenuous day cramming in both a high school and college education while also finding time to play the flute in two orchestras, the Miami Music Project orchestra and the South Florida Youth Symphony. She typically gets home around 10 each evening and spends the next three to four hours studying. That leaves her anywhere from four to six hours for sleep (if she's lucky).
If that sounds like a whole lot of work for such a young girl, you wouldn't be wrong. "I'm excited, but for some reason it feels like it's all coming too soon, too fast," Grace says of her success, adding, "I missed out on being a kid, goofing off and wasting time."
For Grace Bush, however, goofing off wasn't really an option. Gisla Bush is a full-time mother whose youngest child is a mere 11 months old and her father is a human resources analyst for the city of Pompano Beach. In other words, every dollar counts. Add to that her family's emphasis on education and it seems as though Grace's speedy journey through the education system seems like it was almost necessary. That said, necessity alone cannot account for the young woman's undeniable brilliance. And, it would seem that Grace Bush is more than willing to give up a small part of her childhood to achieve her goals. “I would eventually like to become chief justice of the United States,” she says.
Well, she's certainly on the right track. After the summer, Bush will be returning to FAU to pursue a master's degree in public administration. After that, it's on to law school.