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Black teens earn bachelor’s degrees while in high school

Teens get Bachelor’s degree while in high school

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — For many people, middle and high school is a time of struggle, finding friends, and navigating classes. Imagine not navigating just high school, but college courses too, all on the way to getting a bachelor’s degree before the age of 21.

That’s the story of two kids from Gary. Both were in Indianapolis for high honors.

The honors included a ceremony attended by Gov. Eric Holcomb. The groups included the Indiana Civil Rights Commission and the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Indiana Holiday Commission for 33rd annual State of Indiana Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday Celebration in honor of Dr. King.

Abram Lewis, 17, and Khaya Njumbe, 15, have worked hard to get to this moment, while still being teenagers.

Both teenagers will receive a bachelor’s degree this spring.

Lewis will receive his degree from Purdue Northwest. He’s already received an associate’s degree and plans on going to medical school to become a neurosurgeon.

Lewis attends classes at 21st Century Charter School, a school under Geo Academies, a system of charters, and simultaneously received credits for both degrees as a result of the way the curriculum is designed.

The schools were founded in 2005.

Lewis and Njumbe were honored Thursday by a coalition of Black leaders in Indianapolis.

When asked if he is a prodigy, Lewis said, “Not at all.”

Njumbe is set to graduate from Ivy Tech this year with three associate’s degrees. He will receive a bachelor’s degree from Indiana Northwest.

“Originally I planned to graduate high school at 12 (years old),” said Njumbe.

“Around campus, a lot of people were shocked when they saw me,” Njumbe said. “They would think I was the professor’s son.”

Both of their futures, they said, were squarely in focus.

“It’s kind of surreal because I’m getting a head start on college,” said Lewis.

Lewis is the second person in his family to follow the same track. His older sister got her associate’s degree while in high school, and is now on pace to get her Ph.D. while attending school in Texas.

Njumbe said he plans to become an orthopedic surgeon.

Njumbe said he makes time for basketball and gymnastics, and both teens make time for regular childhood things.

“Oh yes, most definitely,” Njumbe said of the time he spends with Lewis playing video games. “It’s all down to time management, I guess.”

Belinda Njumbe, Khaya Njumbe’s mother, said she moved to America from South Africa more than 30 years ago to give her children opportunities, such as the one her son is getting.

“In America, there are opportunities,” said Belinda Njumbe.