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A family of high achievers has added more accolades to its belt after 12-year-old Elijah Muhammad became the youngest Black student accepted into a college in Oklahoma.
Near the end of August, Muhammad became the youngest college student ever enrolled at Oklahoma City Community College, according to KFOR. He’s also been accepted into Langston University, Oklahoma’s only HBCU.
Years ago, when little Elijah’s home computer continued to crash, his dad told him to learn how to hack it. From that moment on, the spark igniting his passion for computer science was lit.
Majoring in cyber security, Muhammad studies courses in computer hardware, intro to computer technology, and computer operating systems.
“A bunch of them were like, ‘how old are you?’” said Muhammad of his classmates. “Once I told them my age, they all got surprised.”
Youngest college student: Elijah and Shania Muhammad
Joining his older sister Shania, who previously held the title of youngest student at OCCC at age 13, Elijah owes much of his success to his father’s passion for education.
Elijah Muhammad Sr. runs Prep One Collegiate Academy, a homeschool program he used to teach both his children. And the success of the program is clear to see.
Elijah’s older sister Shania was celebrated as the youngest person to graduate from OCCC and Langston University, an HBCU, in May at age 14. Now, she has a book tour and a clothing line.
“Don’t let your age be the ceiling to your potential and I really want to push that. You cannot let that be a barrier to your life. It’s like I was in the seventh grade and the whole time I was on the collegiate level I just didn’t know it,” Shania told News 9.
Meanwhile, Elijah has already been offered letters of acceptance to three HBCUs including Langston, where he is enrolled as a concurrent student.
“He was very attentive, and there were things I noticed from when he was two years old that were just different, and I was like it’s time to cultivate this,” Elijah’s father said, according to Atlanta Black Star.
Attending OCCC and Langston University
In March, Dr. Mautra Staley Jones became the first Black woman president of OCCC and the first Black woman president of any Oklahoma university that isn’t an HBCU.
She expressed her excitement and support for Elijah in a statement shared with Atlanta Black Star.
“Elijah’s academic journey is inspiring, and we are excited to help him achieve his educational goals. This institution is known for creating opportunities for non-traditional students, creating a unique mix of students of all ages — with our youngest being 12 when Elijah enrolled to our oldest students in their 70s,” Dr. Jones said.
For his part, Muhammad Sr. credits the success of his homeschooling to focusing on the individual needs of a particular student.
“We try to expose you to as many different types of learning and different types of learning styles. Some people are hands-on, some people learn by video, audio or reading. There are multiple methods, and I’m saying, why are we being told there’s only one way,” Muhammad Sr. said.
Despite the brain-bending accomplishment, Elijah still enjoys having fun just like any other kid his age. On top of playing coding games on his computer, Elijah is a three-time state champion wrestler.
“I don’t have problems making friends, I’m really sociable, it’s just, when I tell them, or they ask me, what’s going on, and I tell them, you can do the same thing if you take the time to focus and study on the things you really want to do,” Elijah said.
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