Like the others, he had family, friends and classmates watching and cheering his hard work, dedication and accomplishments.
Soon he expects to start a job as a lifeguard. Because that's what 15-year-olds typically do during the summer.
Harding first walked on to the Faulkner campus at age 11, having been home-schooled on an accelerated plan that allowed him to pursue his passions early in life. His parents,
"For us, it's more a belief that it can be done,"
"Ask a kid what he wants to be when he grows up, and believe them."
The Harding children
Hannah, 25, who graduated from Auburn Montgomery when she was 17 with a bachelor's of science in math; Serennah, 22, who is a physician; Rosannah, who completed a five-year architecture program at
"At this age, (homeschooling) is like (part of) our religious beliefs, feeling like we need to be responsible for educating them,"
The only difference, she said, is "where" the children go to school for their academics. They still have a social life -- they play organized team sports and still hang out at the mall sometimes with friends -- and still have homework like everyone else. Harding said if her younger children decide they aren't ready for a college campus at age 11 or 12, they will likely wait another semester before reconsidering.
"You can't push them into a (college) classroom because they are either going to cry or run out screaming," she said. "It's not physically possible to force a child, because they are not going to perform well. But when they see their other siblings doing it, and know at age 10 they'll start preparing for the ACT ... it's just what they know."
Life on campus
By the time he left Faulkner at 15, graduating with a 3.73 GPA, he was president of the university's choir club.
"I think because I was interested in music, the studying wasn't a burden," he said. "It's really nice to apply the musical things you learn in classes and get to experience going on tour and performances.
"I think it helps us relate to people of all ages. That even when we're young, we can get along with the kids our age and younger. And being home-schooled and not going through grade-based school, we take care of the younger siblings, and being around adults all day helps with understanding maturity."
His sister Katrinnah agrees.
The 11-year-old is dual enrolled at Faulkner -- she took English 101 and a choir class this semester -- and home-schooled. She said she and her brother were treated fairly on campus by the other students, "because I think in high school, there are bullies and stuff, because they are not very mature.
"But once they get to college, some of them are married. They are more accepting."
Her father agrees.
"College folks are much more accepting,"
Keith and Katrinnah left Saturday on a Faulkner-sponsored choir trip to
When he returns,
Katrinnah will start full-time at Faulkner in the fall. She is considering becoming a lawyer at
Neither Keith or Katrinnah feel they have missed out on a childhood. They meet with friends regularly -- on Friendship Friday -- and have no regrets over the academic path they have taken.
"I feel if I went to a regular school, I'd be doing just as much homework," she said, "just less advanced."
For more information on the Harding family visit their website at collegeby12.com
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