Early Bird Gets the…Diploma

Sophomore to graduate with Class of 2021


Phreda Woods

Graduating 20th in the Class of 2021, sophomore/senior PJ Miller poses with her honors at the Klein Oak Top 10% Ceremony.

Actress Jennifer Lawrence and Klein Oak student PJ Miller. Do you know what they both have in common? Both are in the ranks of early high school graduates. Sophomore, but now classified senior, Phreandria Miller will be walking with the Class of 2021. 

“I’ve always been good at grasping concepts at a faster pace so in the eighth grade, I started to attend college, and last year I earned my associate’s degree. With my degree, I had enough credits to graduate [high school],” Miller said. 

However, typical teen experiences such as attending sporting events were some activities that were not on her radar. The stereotype of high school being almost the “prime” years of one’s life didn’t stop Miller from wanting to push further ahead with her academic goals in her life. 

“I had classes after school, so I couldn’t attend football games or a lot of after school activities,” Miller said. “ I did contemplate how I would miss out on numerous high school experiences but with the current COVID19 pandemic, most people are not having those anyway. I saw this as the perfect opportunity for me to graduate high school two years early, and I took it.”

Nevertheless, with a rigorous academic path adversities are almost inevitable. The main one being the contents of course work. But, for Miller, it came to a point of juggling two different levels of schooling. Within the past three years, Miller has taken almost 23 different courses ranging from Introduction to Chemistry to British Literature to 18th Century History. 

“The main hardships I faced was time management and mental health. Mental health was a huge struggle. It was difficult to stay motivated when I was missing out on a lot,” Miller said. “In addition to that, I didn’t get a lot of sleep because finding time to do the extra work was challenging. In class a lot of time I had to do work for multiple classes at once as well as combine my studying for different classes and stay up until 3 a.m.”

Upon various motivations, Miller’s main one was  her mother, Phreda Woods. Woods accounts the biggest of Miller’s hardships to be based on others’ ignorance. 

“As a single parent,  I had to make financial decisions in order for PJ to pursue her gifts. Life hasn’t been a crystal staircase. Of course we had challenges with people who tried to stymie her talents for their own biases,” Woods said. 

In addition to being a single parent, Woods said the process of enduring an almost completely new territory for someone graduating early gives an equivalent amount of pressure towards a parental perspective.  

“There were many road blocks with disinformation, no information, and inaccurate information. When no one has ever done something before, you get a lot of ‘I don’t know’, no’s, and referrals,” Woods said. “I have found that eventually you will get to the person who can make it possible. Additionally, being PJ’s mom, has prepared me for every road block. I have had to wear many hats. She has been trailblazing all her life. If she wanted to do it, my nerves had to take it.” 

In the fall of 2021, Miller will be walking the halls of Texas A&M while basking in the College Station environment. Miller will be majoring in Chemical Engineering and is now set to achieve her bachelor’s degree. 

“PJ is truly an amazing person who tries to find light even in the darkest of places. It is my pleasure to have been blessed to raise her and watch her blossom,” Woods said. “There was never a hardship that I would not take on to clear the way for her to shine.”