MESA, Ariz. — A 12-year-old Valley boy is about to start college before entering his teenage years.
Jimi ‘Monty’ Hernandez celebrated his 12th birthday on Thursday. Despite being the youngest of his siblings, he will graduate high school and start college before them.
Like any kid his age, Monty likes to play video games and hang out with his friends.
But not every child his age can do the things Monty can do.
“When he was four, he taught himself to read,” said his mother, Danielle Hernandez. “He wanted to know what the letters on a video game meant, and he learned in two days.”
Despite not learning to talk until he was 4, Monty was gifted and learned fast, to the point that he would get bored in some classes, his mother said.
“He didn’t want to go to pre-kindergarten, and he told his principal, ‘I either want to go to first grade or I want to go to college,’” Monty’s mother said. “When it came time for regular kindergarten, he was already multiplying.”
Monty began school in special education but only went to kindergarten for one week before going to first grade. When in second grade, he was pulled to third. He completed all his fourth grade and most of his fifth but was pulled to seventh grade. He completed 10th and 11th the same year.
“I saw it’s just because I was able to keep up with the workflow and understand it, but some say that I’m smart,” Monty said.
When Monty was 8 years old, Danielle took him to an educational psychologist to get his IQ score. The mother said he got a score of 145+ but was told his real score was 160+ because some of the questions allegedly bored him.
Monty will beat his two older sisters from graduating high school when he finishes Skyline High School in Mesa, and come August; he will begin studying biochemistry at Arizona State University.
Monty is a "twice exceptional" child, his mother said. He’s been diagnosed with ADHD, autism, seizure disorder, and has a connective tissue syndrome.
“I also have a dilated aorta, which could possibly kill me if it gets too big, but honestly, I don’t care as long as I try my best,” Monty said.
Despite being around doctors all of his life, Danielle said her son has always shown a good attitude even when there are setbacks on his health.
“If you have a twice-exceptional child just let them take lead and open the door for them because they might surprise you,” Monty’s mother said.
One flaw to Monty’s "smartness," the family said, is that most scholarships have age restrictions; that’s why the family created a GoFundMe account to help fund his education. His mother takes care of him around the clock.
“I just want to make every step in my life the best it can be so I can go out with a bang,” Monty said.
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