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12-year-old graduates from college with 5 degrees

Clovis Hung plans to continue his studies as he explores several career paths, including piloting, medicine and aerospace.
12-year-old graduates from college with 5 degrees
Posted at 11:22 AM, May 24, 2023

At home, Clovis Hung enjoys playing basketball with friends, creating Star Wars Lego scenes and playing with his dog Chep Chep and his cat Cotton. He's also earning merit badges to become an Eagle Scout. 

But this tween boy is anything but ordinary. 

At just 12 years old, Clovis has become the youngest graduate of Fullerton College in California — and he earned five degrees. 

Clovis' record-breaking accomplishment happened on Saturday, when he received five Associate of Arts degrees in history; social sciences; social behavior and self-development; arts and human expression; and science and mathematics. He was one of over 900 graduates. 

"I feel proud of myself. Hard work has finally paid off," Clovis said in a press release posted by the school

He began his college career at just 9 years old when he enrolled at Fullerton. Clovis was inspired by another young graduate — Jack Rico — who was just 13 years old when he earned four degrees at Fullerton in 2020.

Clovis' mother, Song Choi, said her son has always been self-motivated and goal-oriented, which is one of the reasons she opted to home-school him in 2019, rather than continue to send him to public school. 

"Clovis is super inquisitive, mature, diligent, self-disciplined, and highly motivated. He is also very curious, and traditional public schools could not satisfy his curiosity; therefore, the best option was college," said Choi. 

Clovis enrolled in college classes under Fullerton's "special admit" program, and simultaneously completed a home-schooling curriculum.

SEE MORE: Woman in labor walks across graduation stage, gets degree

One of his professors said the young boy has done well in college despite his age. 

"At first, I was a little worried about how he would relate to the other students given the age and developmental differences; however, those concerns were unfounded.  Clovis has been a great mixture of 'kid' and college student.  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," said biology professor Kenneth Collins. 

Clovis admitted he was nervous at the start of a few semesters when he had to step into a new classroom — and, naturally, face some questions from professors and peers. 

"The first question the professors and classmates usually ask is how old I am. They are surprised at what I am doing here and always curious about the points of my quizzes and exams. However, after a while, I have shown a serious attitude toward my study; they all believe in my ability and determination to get good grades," he said. 

The school called Clovis "a standout among his peers, but not for his age or size." 

"Clovis is such a joy to be around and very intelligent. Although he is tiny, it's the only feature that gives away his age," said student trustee Paloma Foster, who is taking honors anthropology with Clovis this semester. 

Clovis plans to continue taking STEM classes at Fullerton College until he is ready to apply to universities in the fall. He was elected senator for Associated Students for the upcoming academic year. 

Clovis is exploring a number of career paths including piloting, medicine and aerospace. 

"I feel really proud of what I've accomplished so far," he said. "I also just joined the Civic Air Patrol and hope to get my pilot license at age 16."

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