"He Came Out Smart": Boy, 10, Earns High School Diploma

By Lisa Fernandez
|  Thursday, Jun 12, 2014  |  Updated 2:51 PM EDT
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A 10-year-old Northern California boy whose father said he

A 10-year-old Northern California boy whose father said he "came out smart" has graduated from high school — eight years earlier than most people do. Tanishq Abraham of Sacramento received his diploma at a private ceremony with 100 guests at the California Auto Museum on Sunday, and even got a congratulatory letter from the White House. "It was really emotional," his mother, Taji Abraham, said on Wednesday. "He said he liked being home-schooled but really wanted a cap-and-gown ceremony. He worked so hard for it."

A 10-year-old Northern California boy whose father said he "came out smart" has graduated from high school — eight years earlier than most people do.
 
Tanishq Abraham of Sacramento received his diploma at a private ceremony with 100 guests at the California Auto Museum on Sunday, and even got a congratulatory letter from the White House.

"It was really emotional," his mother, Taji Abraham, said on Wednesday. "He said he liked being home-schooled but really wanted a cap-and-gown ceremony. He worked so hard for it."
 
Tanishq was home-schooled because he got "bored" in regular school, and ended up graduating with a 4.0 GPA, completing his high school proficiency exam in March.

His mother, a veterinarian, put her own Ph.D studies on hold to teach him, though her son has been taking classes at American River College, a community college, in Sacramento since he was 7 years old.

His father, Bijou, a software engineer and Cornell University graduate who himself earned a perfect SAT score in math, said in an interview last year: "He came out smart."

Nobody seems to dispute that.

When he was 4, Tanishq joined Mensa International, a group for people whose IQ is in the top 2 percent of the population. His sister, Tiara, who is now 8, also joined Mensa and is now taking classes at American River College, his parents said.

Tanishq and Tiara Abraham (Courtesy Bijou and Taji Abraham)

The boy's college astronomy professor, Paulo Alfonso, said Tanishq is "thirsty for learning" and is "different, in a positive way," in an interview on THINKR, a YouTube station that produces stories about prodigies and "extraordinary people,"  when Tanishq was just 9.

His geology professor, Steve Sterling, said in the video that Tanishq "retains difficult concepts better than any other student I've ever had."
 
At the time, Taji said the most fun thing for her son is "learning... and people just can't understand that."

In the interview, both Tanishq and his parents acknowledged that it is hard for him to make friends, and so he joined the San Francisco Boys Chorus to socialize with others his own age. His mom said his family has been driving the round-trip three-hour commute twice a week from Sacramento because he loves singing with the troupe.

The bright boy's Twitter profile lists himself as an aspiring doctor, scientist and U.S. president, and his hobbies include social media, programming and, of course, playing.

He also has two cats, one of which he named Bili, which in Hindi means "cat." His own name means "jewel" in Sanskrit, reflecting his parents' Indian roots.
 
Tanishq's post-high school plans do not including flipping burgers.

He has his sights set on medical school at the University of California, Davis, and finding a cure for cancer.

Tanishq Abraham, 9, of Sacramento (left) talks with friends from the San Francisco Boys Chorus while waiting to sing the National Anthem in 2013. (Courtesy Bijou and Taji Abraham.)

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