As a 13-year-old eighth-grader, Sam Frank took a Calculus I class at St. Clair County Community College. A little more than three years later, Sam has bypassed high school and is graduating magna cum laude Friday, May 10, from SC4 at age 16, as the college’s youngest graduate on record. The Burtchville Township youth is low key and matter of fact in describing his journey to an associate in science degree, completed by the end of what would have been his junior year in high school. “My mom had been teaching me math since I was in first grade,” Sam recalled. “She noticed that I was advanced and was able to do a lot of the stuff other kids were able to do faster.” That aptitude for math continued. As a seventh-grader at Fort Gratiot Middle School, Sam went to Port Huron Northern High School to take Pre-Calculus and Trigonometry. That led to his first class at SC4. A year later, and two months into his freshman year at Northern, Sam was feeling unchallenged. With the support of his parents, SC4 Professors Jim and Patricia Frank, Sam, then 14, was able to enroll full time at SC4 in fall semester 2010. “I enjoyed going to college a lot more than I enjoyed going to high school,” Sam said. “At SC4, it felt more serious … You’re there to do work.” Sam started by taking classes that interested him. In his last few semesters, he has completed specific credits for the science degree but overall has significantly more credits than the typical associate degree graduate. Some of his favorites included Digital Circuits, an electronics class taught by Professor Matt Morabito; Evolution, a biology class taught by Professor David Sheldon; and Electricity, Light and Modern Physics, taught by Professor H.C. Snyder. Sam also took four French classes, all taught by his father. Asked if that was odd, Sam answered simply, “He’s my teacher here, and he’s my dad outside of class.” While Sam acknowledges that being younger than the typical SC4 student was “a little bit weird at times,” he noted, “It wasn’t as big of a deal as I thought.” By the end of his first semester, Sam said he was just a student like everyone else. Some of that blending in, he said, could be attributed to his 6-foot-1-inch height. As for his social life, Sam said he continued to hang out with his high school friends after school and on weekends. “It’s tough because you have to kind of accept that you’re going to eventually start to be left out of what your friends are talking about,” he said. However, he’s found that Twitter has helped him to stay connected with his friends. In his free time, in addition to hanging out with his friends, Sam enjoys playing video games – “probably too many.” Although he’s already completed an SC4 degree, Sam plans to continue taking classes at SC4 during fall 2013 and winter 2014. He hopes taking electronics and programming classes will improve his chances of transferring into a prestigious engineering program, such as those at the University of Michigan or Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Sam plans to transfer into a bachelor’s degree program for fall 2014. At that point, he’ll be 18 and already two or more years into a four-year degree program. “I’ve looked at a bunch of different kinds of engineering,” Sam explained. “Right now, I’m most interested in nuclear engineering.” He hopes that could lead to a career in design for an energy company, such as General Electric Co. or Westinghouse Electric Corp.