ARLINGTON — Jayden Fullerton will be graduating from not one but two schools later this month. Before turning 16 he will have earned a diploma from Arlington High School and an associate’s degree from Everett Community College.
All the while, he has maintained a 3.85 GPA.
To accomplish this, Fullerton skipped first and 10th grades. And starting in fourth grade he began taking advanced math curriculum, completing four years of math in one year through an online program.
“I liked the self-pace learning, because I never got bored,” Fullerton said. “I did it in my free time because I liked it so much.”
But once he started studying algebra, self-learning became more difficult, he said.
“With online classes there is no raising your hand,” Fullerton said. “I needed someone to talk to.”
In eighth grade Fullerton began busing over to Arlington High School to take a calculus class, a subject many students don’t tackle until senior year or in college, if ever.
The first ride to the high school in a bus full of students several years older was nerve-racking, he said.
The age difference in the end wasn’t an issue.
“They would think it’s really cool to have a young kid in class,” Fullerton said.
By 14, he completed the next two levels of calculus.
In high school he entered the Running Start program. Fullerton has spent the last two years taking classes at Everett Community College to fulfill college and high school requirements and pre-requisites for a computer science major.
School hasn’t been all math problems for Fullerton. He joined the high school golf team, eventually making the varsity team, he said.
“It’s an individual sport, there’s only relying on yourself,” Fullerton said.
This fall, Fullerton will be attending the University of Washington Bothell, with two years of credit already completed. He also was accepted to University of Washington in Seattle, but is too young to live in the dorm. Instead, he will commute from his home in the Stanwood area to Bothell for class.
There, he plans to major in computer science and software engineering, and minor in math. He was drawn to programming because he relishes the challenge of problem-solving.
Fullerton’s ultimate goal is to work for a company like Microsoft or Google as a software developer. He wants be the innovative mind behind a computer program rather than just writing code.
But first he is spending the summer learning the programming language C++.