August 18, 2022
Fort Worth Magazine
Opal Lee, the “Grandmother of Juneteenth,” is in the dining room eating Panera. Across from her sits the 19-year-old holder of two records: youngest woman and youngest Black person to ever graduate from law school. Next to her is the 16-year-old entrepreneur working on his MBA and a Texas Woman’s University student who is 14 years old.
Before the conversation turns to history, politics, and education, the topic du jour is the new chicken sandwich by Panera. The consensus is that it’s pretty good.
Such is the surreal scene on a scorching summer afternoon at the Taylor Schlitz residence in Keller, home to three child “geniuses” who, if you ask Haley (the record-holder with a law degree from SMU), would rather be called something else.
“A lot of times people will use the term ‘genius,’ which I’m not really a fan of,” Haley says. “It removes the possible inspiration of our story, and people might feel like they can’t do what we’ve done. But they can.”
In addition to Ian, the 16-year-old businessman, and Hana, the 14-year-old college student, the family includes dad William Schlitz, a communications and political consultant, and mom Dr. Myiesha Taylor, an ER doctor. The family has been in the news recently because of Haley’s dual records, an achievement that has sparked equal parts awe and curiosity. After all, it’s hard enough to wrap your head around a 19-year-old graduating from SMU law school; now consider the fact that one of her younger siblings is approaching college graduation, and the other already has a degree and his own company.
Yet like their eldest daughter, Dr. Taylor and her husband are quick to dispel the notion that there is a “secret ingredient” to their three children’s success. Indeed, each of the children were homeschooled for some duration of time, but the more you talk to the Schlitz family, the more you see there is something far beyond homeschool at work. Each member of the family has an earnest, curious, and compassionate approach to life that seems to pervade every space they occupy.
As Dr. Taylor puts it, “I want to know all the things. Why wouldn’t you want to know all the things?”
Shortly after the Panera is put away and the family (plus friend and living legend Opal Lee) gathers in the living room for a discussion of how they got here, it becomes apparent that they’re not interested in solely talking about their respective accomplishments. Rather, they brim with passion while discussing how to use their time, talents, and stories to make an impact — whatever that impact looks like for each of them.
“Sometimes people look at me and my siblings and they’re like, ‘What’s the rush? Why are you going so fast?’” Haley says. “That’s like asking a second grader, ‘What’s the rush?’ If they’re doing what works best for them, then they’re in the right place.”
“We are exactly where we’re meant to be,” she adds later. “We’re doing what interests us and helps us excel.”