Meet the 9-year-old boy who just graduated high school.
“I celebrated by building more robots,” said David Balogun, a recent graduate of Reach Cyber Charter School. He’s one of the youngest people to graduate high school.
“He put his mind to do something, he accomplished it, and I think he’s just focused on the next goal,” said Ronya Balogun, David’s mother.
David loves to learn. He managed to finish 8th grade in two and a half months. His family said the help from his teachers and administrators at his school was crucial.
“We carefully monitored his progress,” said Mary Kay Pronio, a gifted support teacher at the school, which is based in Pennsylvania.
“We were able to unlock the doors for him, and he had the freedom to be David,” she said.
Pronio became one of David’s teachers for 3rd grade. Her role was to make sure he was challenged.
“We made sure to carefully approach that. Before we would advance him there would be a series of meetings,” she said.
Pronio says that as a teacher, it’s important to meet kids where they are at.
“He loved to learn why he made a mistake and then he wanted to go back and research why he made it. And then during his research about why he made a mistake, he would learn something new,” she said.
Balogun has already founded his own website development company, too.
So what’s next for the 9-year-old high school graduate?
“I’m looking into Ivy League colleges,” he said.
“Also, I'm looking into careers in astrophysics, engineering, robotic engineering, chemistry,” Balogun said.
“We dared to break the norms and let him be who he is as a child, but also accommodate his abilities and his creativity, with balance, to the best of our abilities,” his mother Ronya said.
Through their experience, David and his family have some advice for others.
“Don’t give up on what you want to do. Because I'm not good at all the subjects I come across. But I leverage what I'm very good at and what I’m not the best at,” David said.
“We hope to help other kids and other parents and, hopefully, schools to understand that there are kids like David out there. And we really would love for these kids to shine the way that David shines,” Ronya said.