PULLMAN, Wash. — A 16-year-old student from Union, Wash., will soon become the youngest person on record to graduate from Washington State University.
 
Kayla Heard could talk at age one and read at 18 months. She started first grade at three, graduated from high school at ten and began community college at 11.
 
Kayla was home-schooled and is earning her social sciences degree though WSU Online.
 
“My parents felt it wouldn’t be good to send me to a campus at such a young age,” she said. “I appreciate their decision, mainly because online studying has given me quite a bit of flexibility in my schedule.” Kayla and her family will attend the May 7 commencement in Pullman.
 
Kayla’s mother said she knew her daughter was different early on.
 
“When she was a baby, she respected paper,” Marlyn Heard said.  “She didn’t tear it or put it in her mouth. She would look at a picture or writing like she wanted to know what it said.”
 
When Kayla was seven months old, her mom laid out flash cards with numbers and letters.
 
“In two months she knew them,” Marlyn said. “She would pick the right ones – before she could speak.” Kayla could print letters at three and write in cursive at four.
 
At the age of two, Marlyn said, Kayla realized that all the presidents of the United States have been male. She looked at her mom and said, “I’ll be the first female president. And I’ll defend the rights of children.”
 
Kayla graduates with a 3.71 grade point average. She’s already passed a law school admissions test, and will spend the summer filling out law school applications.
 
“I’m interested in pursuing a degree online in international law,” Kayla said. “I have a passion for traveling and learning about foreign cultures.” She wants to work abroad, possibly in Hong Kong, and she plans to “visit a plethora of foreign countries” before settling down.
 
Kayla spends her spare time singing in church, playing piano and guitar, and reading and writing. She also stays in her room a lot, Marlyn said. “We call her cave girl.”
Are there other brilliant members of the Heard family?
 
“I have relatives who are scholars, but not like Kayla,” Marlyn said. “And my son is more like a normal kid. He’s 12. When he was a baby, he put the flash cards in his mouth.”