'A much faster pace': 12-year-old graduates from high school and college in the same week

·2 min read

In the same week, Mike Wimmer and his family celebrated his high school and college graduations in Concord, North Carolina. And he is just 12 years old.

Mike completed four years of school in one year – two years of high school and a two-year associate's degree. He graduated from Rowan-Cabarrus Community College on May 21 and from Concord Academy High School on May 28, where he was valedictorian.

He said his college GPA was 4.0, and his high school GPA was 5.45.

"I'd always just went through things at a much faster pace and always had these different out-of-the-box ideas to solve problems," he told USA TODAY.

Mike started high school at age 9 and realized that with the amount of dual enrollment credits he was taking, he could finish his associate degree simultaneously. He graduated with an associate in the arts.

Though Mike was much younger than his classmates in high school and college, his mother, Melissa Wimmer, said he adjusted to the age gap easily. While she says she was worried, she credits the easy transition to his ability to make friends "with anyone and everyone."

Mike Wimmer and his parents, Melissa and Mark Wimmer, during his high school graduation.
Mike Wimmer and his parents, Melissa and Mark Wimmer, during his high school graduation.

When he wasn't focused on his academics, Mike founded two companies. His first is Next Era Innovations, where he develops robotic applications and programming. His newest project is Reflect Social, in which Mike said he's solving the problem of having separate applications on separate devices. Reflect Social combines various applications onto one compatible device.

Despite fast-tracking through high school, the graduate said he is still just a kid.

"I play with Hot Wheels tracks and have Legos. Many people think that I lost my childhood or something like that. But in general, I am having the time of my life doing everything and still have that kid factor as well," Mike said.

Melissa Wimmer and her husband, Mark, said they never expected their son to accomplish all he has so young in life. They said they never pushed him but instead supported his passions.

In the same week, Mike Wimmer graduated from both college and high school.
In the same week, Mike Wimmer graduated from both college and high school.

"What we say as parents is support your child in exactly what they want to do and in their goals, their dreams, not yours or not the ones that you would like for them to do," Mark Wimmer said. "Once you find that passion, whether it be academics, sports, music, art, whatever area that is, trying to support that and get them access as much as possible."

Now Mike is weighing job offers, focusing on his companies and considering a four-year university. Until then, he's holding on to "kid-like" dreams in the future.

"Then there's say long-term goals of buying my first sports car once I turn 16, right? Because, again, I'm still just a kid," he said. "So really, I don't really put myself in a box. ... I just go with the flow and see where it takes me."

Follow Gabriela Miranda on Twitter: @itsgabbymiranda

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Starting young: 12-year-old graduates from college and high school

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