Head of the Class
Gifted 12-year-old accepted to Arizona State University.

In a few months, Jimi Hernandez will graduate from Skyline High School. The young boy, who goes by “Monty,” just turned 12 earlier this month and will be heading to college in the fall.

Accepted to both Arizona State University and Grand Canyon University when he was only 11, “Monty” plans to major in biochemistry, followed by graduate school, and then medical school.

Diagnosed with seizure disorder, autism, and severe combined type ADHD when he was young, Monty also struggled with physical limitations due to a heart condition. His mom Danielle noticed he was gifted around his first birthday. “He would see what he wanted and plan how to get it, whether it was stacking things to climb or trying to unlock cabinets. He had a goal,” she says.

Monty recently took time to share insight into his goals and education journey with Epic Kids.

How old were you when you entered high school?

I was 9 years old when I started ninth grade. I was 10 years old when I started taking classes at the junior college in our town.

When did you realize you were more gifted than the majority of kids your age?

I really did not know I was gifted. I knew that I was bored in class and wanted to be in more advanced classes. It made me feel bored and frustrated to sit in an elementary school class all day. I really didn’t have friends because I was not interested in the same things as they were. I also felt like I knew the material being taught.

What have been some of the pros and cons of being younger than your peers in school?

The students in my classes are much older and help to look out for me. They are able to work on group projects and understand the topic and add facts that are new to me. The cons are that I cannot go to their houses or hang out with them as it is not appropriate. They are driving, dating, playing school sports, and have jobs. I did go my homecoming dance this year and was so bored! The older kids only danced. No games or food were there! I called my mom to pick me up early. So the con is that I am socially awkward or don’t fit in.

What subjects do you enjoy the most, and the least?

My favorite subjects are math and science. I am taking dual enrolled physics and pre-calculus now. My least liked subject is English! My mind is all over the place with thoughts. Sometimes I think out of order, or I type slower than my mind thinks, so I miss pieces of information that an English essay would require.

You want to become a pediatric neurologist. What about that profession appeals to you?

I really just want to help kids. I want them to experience life as they should without limitations. I am 2e, which means twice exceptional. I am gifted, but I also have a disability and need support to reach my potential. I understand what it is like to feel frustrated when you know that you want to do something, but your mind or body limits you.

What are you looking forward to the most, and the least, as you enter ASU in the fall?

I am looking forward to every second I am there! I am excited to be on such a great campus with such great people. I am excited to attend lectures and participate in lab. I am not looking forward to my exams. I am actually a little bit afraid of how difficult they may be.

What advice would you give to other kids to help them reach their goals?

I would tell other kids to reach and study so that they have the knowledge to reach their goals. Practice your skill and never give up. I have had failure as well. I have made mistake. I have even failed a test! I just keep on studying and practicing.