What were you most preoccupied with when you were 11 years old? For most of us, that age is a time of transition and growth — such as making new friends, exploring hobbies, or succeeding in sports.

For Monty Hernandez, an 11-year-old from Phoenix, Arizona, this is an important age as well, but for different reasons. He’s preparing for his freshman year of college!

An extremely bright young man, Monty is not only naturally gifted but a very hard worker as well. At age 9, he aced a high school chemistry class despite being the youngest in the room by 5 years.

Photo: Pexels/Monstera

Now, he’s studying over calculus homework and building an immense vocabulary before he’s even entered puberty. “At first, when I was with people that were older than me, it was weird, but over time it gradually became the norm,” he told ABC 15.

Monty was accepted to Arizona State University this year!

Photo: GoFundMe

Like many child prodigies, Monty has blazed his own path through life and the education system. He didn’t speak until the age of 4 and was diagnosed with autism when he started public school. Then, as he continued to ace every aptitude assessment thrown his way, he raced through grade after grade and is now a senior at Skyline High School in Mesa, Arizona.

However, while his family is immensely proud of his success, Monty also, unfortunately, has several health conditions that have made his progress difficult. He was diagnosed with a connective tissue syndrome that affects his joints, muscles, and fine motor skills. When his hands give out from writing so many calculus problems, a scribe takes over and continues for him.

He also has a potentially fatal heart condition that needs surgery when his body is developed enough. “At any point in time I have to be there to say, ‘It’s time to go to Phoenix Children’s, call his cardiologist,’” his mother, Danielle Hernandez, told ABC 15.

Photo: GoFundMe

Unsurprisingly, Monty has a mature and thoughtful response to this situation, using his limitations as a way to focus on his ambitions. “If I’m going to die, I at least try my hardest to do my life goal. I don’t want to go out without a bang,” Monty said. “I want to become a pediatric neurologist so I can help kids who aren’t as fortunate and who need help from doctors to reach their goals.”

You can learn more about Monty and help him achieve his goals through the GoFundMe that his mother has organized to cover his future education expenses.

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