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The City Journals

A decade of perfect grades has THS graduate Aija Moore dreaming of serving on the U.S. Supreme Court

May 02, 2022 09:04PM ● By Carl Fauver

With two parents and six siblings, securing time in the bathroom was likely more challenging for Aija Moore (R) than earning perfect grades. (Courtesy Aija Moore)

By Carl Fauver | [email protected]

If you are 5-foot-1, chances are you will never sign a contract to play for the Utah Jazz. Making your high school basketball team will probably even be a challenge.

But 5’1” seems to be a perfect height to be a female associate justice on the United States Supreme Court. Ruth Bader Ginsburg stood that tall, serving on the high court from 1993 until her 2020 death. Just confirmed Supreme Court Associate Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson stands the same.

Both those facts suit Taylorsville High School graduate – and soon to be University of Utah graduate – Aija Moore just fine. The diminutive young lady, who has never earned a grade other than a straight A since 6th grade, also stands 5’1”.

Do the math on that for a moment – or simply count on your fingers. Three years at Eisenhower Junior High… three more at Taylorsville High… and now four years at the U of U. That’s an entire scholastic decade – nothing but straight A’s. And Aija did not take an easy path.

“I took 10 Advanced Placement classes in high school and passed all the tests, with six 5 scores and four 4 scores (3 is passing, 5 is perfect),” Moore said. “Most the AP classes were in history and English, although I also took AP Spanish and Psychology.”

With her perfect 4.0 GPA in tact at Taylorsville High four years ago, Aija was her 2018 class salutatorian. She also earned the prestigious University of Utah Eccles Scholarship, covering all four years of tuition, fees, housing, meals and a generous stipend for books.

Now, four years later – with that string of perfect A’s still going strong – Moore will graduate in just a few days, with three different degrees – in criminology, history and political science.

“Oddly enough, my most difficult class at the U was a geology course my freshman year,” Aija added. “It was an entry-level class. I thought it would be easier. But the tests were insanely hard. I was new into college and it was terrifying.”

Final grade? A.

Moore’s interest in pursuing a law degree was first kindled when she attended a one-semester justice system course during her senior year at Taylorsville High. A couple of years later, Aija’s interest grew even more as she watched her parents navigate the Utah court system while adopting two of her youngest siblings.

“I interned in the Guardian ad Litem Office at the Matheson Courthouse from December 2019 to March 2020 (when the pandemic ended that opportunity),” Moore explained. “I worked a bit on my (adoptive) sister’s case. I got to know attorneys and bailiffs. I want to work as a Guardian ad Litem before becoming a judge.”

Now with two adopted siblings – and another four who arrived “the old-fashioned way” – Aija is the oldest of Matt and Melina’s seven children. Obviously – even at only 5’1” – she’s placed a high bar for the other six to follow.  

“Aija has really worked hard in school, pushing herself to do her best,” mom Melina Moore said. “She has natural abilities and has worked to make the most of them. I am so proud of this Taylorsville High School graduate.”

Dad Matt adds “I’d love to take credit (for Aija’s scholastic perfection), but she has been diligent from day one. She wants to have an impact on people's lives.”

When not cracking the books, Moore enjoys playing tennis and violin. She and a partner qualified for the Utah Girls State Tennis Tournament her senior year at THS as a doubles team. Also that spring of 2018, Aija and her school orchestra mates travelled to Southern California to perform at Disneyland.

Moore now plans to take a so-called “gap year” to work full time to put away money for law school. She’s not yet decided where she wants to go, but hopes to see a different part of the country.

“I haven’t really started to research law schools yet; but I would love to attend a school on the east coast,” Aija said.

No matter where she goes, Moore says she’ll carry fond memories on her petite frame.

“I love Taylorsville,” she concluded. “It was such a great environment for growing up. Everyone was not the same religion or ethnicity. I never felt stuck in a little bubble like some of my college classmates. At Taylorsville High, my teachers really cared about me. I always had great community support.”

Aija never dunked a basketball. But if the past “straight A” decade is any indicator, who knows, her trek to join Associate Justice Jackson on the Supreme Court could be a slam dunk.