13-year-old California boy Jack Rico has just acquired his fourth associate's degree, adding his name to a small but distinguished list of peers who also made headlines for snagging college diplomas at young ages.
People, citing his mother (Ru Andrade), adds that the teen got degree No. 4 from Fullerton College this past week. By virtue of stacking said degrees, Jack now holds the honor of being the youngest person to ever graduate from the community college. A spokeswoman for the school drove home the point by telling People, “The college was established in 1913, so this is quite a legacy he can claim!”
Rico is reported to have started taking college classes at the age of 11. Over the past two years he's been racking up those degrees.
"It has been pure joy having Jack as a son and I couldn't be any prouder of him," his mother said.
She added that she became aware Jack wasn't "your average kid" when he asked to go to the White House for his fourth birthday.
"I told him that was a big trip for a little guy, and that I would take him if he could learn all the presidents," Andrade said, telling People that she was kidding when she issued the challenge. "A week later he said, 'Mom, I have a confession to make. I already knew all the presidents, but I learned all the vice presidents if that will still count?'"
She further claimed that he started being homeschooled in third grade after struggling in public school, perhaps not super shocking for those who read that vice president quote and also remember what school was like. She claims that this approach allowed her to better focus on his weak areas.
"When he was 11, I knew he needed more of a challenge and a better teacher than me," she said.
He was then entered into Fullerton College's Bridge Program, which allows students from kindergarten through high school to attend if they pass a placement exam.
"He started out just taking one class and he absolutely loved it," his mom said of the experience. "He just kept requesting taking more and more classes."
Restrictions put in place due to the coronavirus have prevented the youngster from attending any sort of typical graduation ceremony (those things suck anyway).
In the fall, the 13-year-old is set to attend the University of Nevada on a full scholarship.
"Jack is not a genius, he just works really hard," his mom added. "We are so happy for Jack and all his academic accomplishments, however, he is an even more awesome human being. He has a sister with autism that he has just been an amazing brother to."
People concluded by saying that he hasn't decided what he wants to do with his life. But, given that there are people five times his age in the same boat, that doesn't really seem like a huge problem at the moment.