David Balogun lives quite a double life, but not the type of double life you’d expect. At first glance, you’d think he’s just a typical 9-year-old boy who enjoys doing the typical 9-year-old things. And while that’s true to a certain extent, Balogun also happens to be a high school graduate and a current college student.
Since you might think that was a typo, I’m gonna say it again – David Balogun is a 9-year-old high school graduate and is currently enrolled at Bucks County Community College, where he takes online classes. When he’s not challenging his sister to a paper plane flying contest, he’s studying for his next big exam.
His story is unique in that he’s one of the youngest people in the United States to earn a high school diploma – which he accomplished in January 2023. Only a few others did it sooner, with the youngest high school graduate of all-time being Michael Kevin Kearney, who graduated at the age of six in 1990.
David Balogun is the only son of Ronya and Henry Balogun – who also have a daughter named Eliana. It wasn’t until David was six years old that they realized he had a gift and they immediately realized that traditional parenting wasn’t going to be enough for him – they needed to ‘develop a different mindset.’
At least that’s how they put it in an interview with CNBC Make It. Considering there are no books on how to raise a child like David, his parents decided to do it their own way and their number one rule is simple: If the system isn’t built for your child, don’t waste your time trying to fix your child – instead, fix the system.
Not only were regular first grade classes not enough, but the programs for gifted children offered at his school weren’t enough either. To ensure he got the challenge he needed, his parents signed him up for an online learning program called Reach Cyber in 2020 – he was too young, but they made an exception.
And while David’s parents are already talking to universities about what’s next, they’re limited in options that don’t involve putting him in a room with young adults. “Sometimes I can’t fix the system, but there are other unconventional choices and solutions to help lead my son through his journey to fulfill his dreams.”
David Balogun Has the Support and Trust of His Parents
In their interview with CNBC Make It, Ronya Balogun spoke about the importance of trusting your child. “I can’t tell him, ‘This is what you know,’ because I’m not in his brain. I have to trust him to be partially leading the way,” Ronya said before adding that parents also need to set some boundaries to that trust.
For example, Ronya had to set boundaries when her then-6-year-old son came home from school talking about how babies were made. She sat him down and gave him a ‘partial walkthrough of reproductive anatomy,’ but quickly ended the conversation before getting too deep into the details of having a baby.
She also talked about the social impact his intelligence has – an impact that both ‘hurt’ and ‘bothered’ her. One day, David Balogun told her that he didn’t have any friends and, while she was saddened by the fact, she admitted that it made sense – given the circumstance. Nonetheless, they’ve learned to embrace it.
“There is no frame of reference,” Ronya said of the unique situation her family finds themselves in with their 9-year-old son, David Balogun. “So you know how sometimes when there is no path, you start a new path? Yep, that’s what we’re doing.” They hope David’s story highlights a need for change and reform.
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