Being the high school valedictorian is an incredible academic accomplishment — and Mike Wimmer recently did it at just 12 years old.
And it wasn't just high school. Wimmer also graduated from college in the same week.
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The North Carolina preteen told the 3rd hour of TODAY's Morgan Radford that he had decided to increase his academic workload during the coronavirus pandemic.
"I didn't have to commute to school, so that actually gave me a lot more time to be able to pick up extra classes," he said.
"It was like, well, we're sitting here doing nothing, right? So might as well take a few extra classes and get some stuff knocked out," he added.
Wimmer finished his high school requirements in December, and said that he focused on his community college work during the spring semester. He also told Radford that he's always been an advanced student.
"I actually went into a little summer camp when I was really young, and my mom came to pick me up the first day, and they're like, 'Do you know he can write his full name and do multiplication facts?'" Wimmer recalled. "And she's like, 'Uh, yeah, is that not normal?'"
Wimmer said his love for learning made academics easy, but as he grew up it was sometimes difficult to be taken seriously and get access to the classes he wanted to take.
"There's a lot of people, the minute they see my age, they're like, 'Oh, well, you can't do this curriculum,' or, 'It's just too rigorous for you,' those kinds of things," Wimmer said. "So really, just gaining credibility and finding educators that wanted to foster my ability was the hardest part."
As if the academic workload wasn't enough, Wimmer also devoted his free time to some impressive extracurriculars, including starting two technology companies. He began the first, Next Era Innovations, when he was just 7 years old. He was also nominated to his high school's homecoming court.
While some might be concerned that Wimmer has spent so much of his childhood working and learning, he said he's happy about the decisions he's made.
"You know, if you look around my room, there's Hot Wheels cars along the wall, tracks on the floor, and Legos are all over the place," he told Radford. "I'm having the time of my life doing everything, whether that is school and my businesses and still being a kid as well."
Wimmer also encouraged other kids to follow their dreams, even when there are obstacles in the way.
"When one door closes, there's always another door, even a window you can crawl through," he said.
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