(CBS NEWS) – A 13-year-old boy just celebrated his graduation in style after becoming the youngest student to ever graduate from Fullerton College, CBS Los Angeles reports. A stage was set up Wednesday in the front yard of Jack Rico’s home in La Mirada, California, where proud friends and family were cheering on his accomplishment from their cars.
Unlike most peers his age, Rico wasn’t celebrating the end of his middle school career. He finished with four associate degrees last weekend.
Wearing a cap and sandals, he was given his diploma in front of dozens of loved ones. Fullerton College President Greg Schulz, who was wearing a mask, told the crowd that Rico’s accomplishment has never been done in the school’s 107-year history.
Rico told CBS Los Angeles that he credits everything to hard work. “You never just know everything,” he said. “You have to study day and night.”
His mother, Ru Andrade, began to homeschool when Rico was in the third grade after recognizing he needed more of a challenge than he was getting at his elementary school.
By the time he was 11, Rico surpassed every high school standard. “I did my best and I can’t be sad with the outcome, whether it’s an A or lower,” he said, admitting he’s never gotten a grade lower than an A.
His mother said it’s not about what’s inside his brain that counts for her.
“You know, for us, his heart is bigger than his brain,” Andrade said.
Rico will head to the University of Nevada, Las Vegas next, hours away from where he lives now. While he is unsure about what career path to take, he loves screenwriting and dreams of having lunch with acclaimed directors Steven Spielberg and Michael Bay.
For now, he was happy about celebrating with those he loves the most. “Thank you all so much for coming and supporting me,” he said.