At 7, Clovis Hung was bored with second grade.
"I wanted more of a challenge," he said.
In 2019, his mother, Song Choi, pulled him out of second grade and began homeschooling him. A year later, when he was 9, he also enrolled in Fullerton College.
"My husband and two daughters said I was crazy," said Choi, who's worked as a tutor for more than 20 years. "But I trust my instinct. I know he is a very unique child because he's very curious and intelligent."
With his mom at his side, Clovis attended classes. At one point, he was taking 11 units, the maximum allowed for students in the special admit program — which provides a "taste" of college by allowing them to simultaneously enroll in classes while attending high school. The program is free for California residents.
"My mom wanted me to go with the professionals," Clovis said Friday afternoon in between studying for his final exams. "I went to Fullerton College and took one class to try, and then I found that I liked it. So I started taking more classes."
Now 12, Clovis is set to graduate Saturday with the 2023 class at Fullerton College — with the distinction of being the youngest person in the college's 108-year history to receive a degree. But he's not just receiving one.
"In the end, I will graduate with five associate degrees," he said. "I feel really proud of myself for all three years of hard work."
Clovis will graduate with associate of arts degrees in history, social sciences, social behavior and self-development, arts and human expression, and science and mathematics.
"My favorite subject is history because I love traveling," he said. "I've been to 23 countries, and my favorite is Egypt because I could see the Great Pyramid of Giza and climb in."
The first class he enrolled in was world civilizations history in the fall of 2020, and he continued to take more classes each semester.
Biology professor Kenneth Collins said Clovis' age worried him at first, but it was never a problem.
"Clovis has been a great mixture of 'kid' and college student," Collins said in a statement. "He is mature enough that the other students take him seriously, but enough of a kid that they look after him like a younger brother and cheer him on."
Clovis said he was inspired by Jack Rico, who at 13 earned four degrees at Fullerton College, breaking the record for youngest graduate in 2020.
He plans to stay at Fullerton College for one more year to get an AA in autonomous systems development. Clovis said he hopes to attend Stanford or the Massachusetts Institute of Technology for a bachelor's degree.
He was elected a senator of the college's associated students organization and said he will continue taking STEM courses until he is ready to transfer to a university to continue his undergraduate education.
Clovis said he's interested in careers in commercial piloting and aerospace.
Choi said her son is like any ordinary child. He is in Boy Scouts and enjoys basketball. He also plays video games such as Roblox and Minecraft.
"I hope in the future I can invent something," Clovis said. "I hope to meet other intelligent people like Elon Musk."
This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.
©2023 Los Angeles Times. Visit latimes.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.