Paine College’s youngest student graduates at 17

May 10, 2022

A sweet gift on Mother's Day, Paine College professor Kimberly Baxter-Lee is the mother of Charleston Lee and is certainly proud of her daughter's accomplishments.

"I brought Charleston home on Christmas day, that was my Christmas gift– back in 2004. And here we go repeating another great gift on Mother's Day," Kimberly Baxter-Lee said.

The graduate's grandmother, who is also a Paine College graduate, was there for her special day alongside the rest of her family and cheering section.

While Lee follows a legacy, she wanted people to know her for "Charlie," as she created her own path at the institution.

"As I got older, during homecoming, then I wanted to be known as ‘you know, oh yeah I'm related to them' but, I wanted to get my own footing first before I connected gaps," Charleston Lee said. ALSO ON WJBF: Augusta teens blowing up on TikTok for "herping"

Lee began her collegiate route taking dual enrollment courses at age 12 and eventually tested out of her highschool career– beginning college at 14.

"I still didn't really know what I wanted to do, but I had that background information from taking dual enrollment classes at 12,"

Lee said. Her mother says Lee knew what she wanted from young.

"Charleston has always been just a unique kid back when she was, maybe, 10 or 11 she knew she did not want to go to school anymore. So, I said you have to go to school, she said ‘well Martin Luther king got out of school at 15, why can't I?,'" Baxter-Lee said.

Lee plans on attending Meharry Medical College in Nashville, Tennessee to pursue a Masters of Science Degree.

For other people her age, she says college is just the first step.

WJBF by Bria Smith


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