COLUMBUS — A 10-year-old southeast Kansas boy is heading to college after speeding through high school coursework.
Alex Jaeger of rural Cherokee County has enrolled in a full load of classes next semester at Pittsburg State University. His classes will include university choir, piano, chemistry, calculus and biology.
Alex, who turns 11 in January, said that he was "excited" and a "little nervous."
One of his parents will accompany him to college classes. But his father, Wesley Jaeger, who has been home-schooling Alex for the past 3 1/2 years, said that his son is ready.
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"I think he thrives on the challenges, and he wants to learn new concepts and he has the ability to do that," Wesley Jaeger said. "Once he sets his mind to it, his focus is on that task or... whatever he wants to learn."
He said Alex was precocious by 18 months, and his Riverton kindergarten teacher noticed his abilities.
Already, Alex is pretty comfortable writing Japanese and scored a 23 on the ACT college entrance exam. The average composite score is 21.1.
His parents said he gets bored when he isn't learning, but Alex said sometimes there is a downside.
"Everything is about homework because you're always home," Alex said. "There's a disadvantage about not being able to have enough friends, but you do get to go to swimming classes and all that."
His parents acknowledge that raising such a bright child is challenging.
"He's still 10 years old," his mother, Chasinee, said, adding that she worries about "whether he will have friends and all that."
Like most children his age, Alex is into video games and the Wii. He also is finding friends in karate class.
"Raising a kid that has certain gifted abilities, they have different emotional issues you deal with," Wesley Jaeger said. "(You) can't just say, 'He's an adult.' You recognize his childhood , but you have to honor his academic ability."
Pittsburg State is preparing for the "buzz" surrounding his arrival, said Melinda Roelfs, the school's director of admissions.
She said the school wants to make sure it is "accommodating the uniqueness of the situation."