Eisenhower HS student graduates at 16

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STUDENTHOUSTON, TX – “I’m not to this level where many of my classmates will be, but that’s one of the best things about it because I have so much to learn from them.”

Som-Mai Nguyen is talking about preparing for her freshman year at Stanford University in the fall.

The 16-year-old valedictorian has been a stand-out at Eisenhower High School.

Her grades speak for themselves and she’s a wiz both on the piano and in the swimming pool.

Nguyen says, “It’s only when someone points it out or that I notice it and that I realize that I am younger.”

Michaelann Kelly, Director of Fine Arts at Eisenhower High School, adds, “Most of the kids did not know her age because being a 10 through 12 and just coming over here and starting, she was like starting with a regular class.”

Nguyen says, “Because I skipped into this class or group of people in the sixth grade, so I’ve had about six years to adjust to them.”

Nguyen was wanting to graduate from high school at an even younger age.

She might have been  academically prepared to go to college early, but would she have the emotional maturity to handle the experience?

Kelly says, “Kind of talked her out of graduating at 14 and waiting and doing two years of the international baccalaureate program, so that when she did go to college, she was not just young but young and prepared.”

Following her teacher’s advice, Nguyen had an eye-opening experience to the world of art as well.

Nguyen says, “This was the most valuable experience for me all through high school because this was something that I never expected to be good at or really expected to even start and try to learn and get better at so I kind of proved to myself that I could pick something up and keep working at it and get better.”

Nguyen’s work on canvas mirrored what she was doing on campus – both which are mature beyond her years.