June 1, 2007

Young student playing hookey at UCSD to take part in pomp and circumstance at Grossmont College

Mid-term graduate at 16 is youngest this year to receive diploma

UCSD junior Max Metti cut classes Wednesday, but he had a pretty good excuse.

Last December, Max graduated from Grossmont College at 16, laying claim to being the youngest of the 1,438 Grossmont College students receiving their sheepskins and certificates of achievement at their commencement ceremony. Max, whose full name of Maximilian Sloan Metti is about as long as he is young, transferred in January to UC San Diego as a junior majoring in applied mathematics.

The El Cajon resident has a brother, 18-year-old Michael “Sebastian” Metti, who also was a December graduate of Grossmont College. And like Max, he is a junior at UCSD, although, he is majoring in language studies.

“We both are into learning foreign languages – for me, it’s for fun,” said Max, who is trilingual – Swedish, Spanish and English – and took Arabic and Japanese at Grossmont. “My brother is majoring in language studies and wants a master’s in international business.”

The two brothers’ accelerated education is due to home-schooling from the ages of 9 and 10; Max took the California High School Proficiency Exam at age 14, the same year he began classes at Grossmont College.

“I started at Grossmont College because I wasn’t prepared for attending a big university,” he said. “I like studying and I enjoyed taking a broad range of courses. It was at Grossmont that I found out that I wanted to do math. (Math instructor) Raymond Funk inspired me. I TA’d (teacher’s assistant) for him and he helped me get a job as a math tutor at the tutoring center.”

Crediting the preparation he received at Grossmont College, Max said he’s adjusted well to transitioning to a major university. As for his age, Max said he doesn’t even think about it anymore, and prefers the company of older students, especially since both he and his brother like to hang out at UCSD’s International House, an on-campus community dedicated to the “promotion of international awareness and intercultural understanding at UCSD and the world,” according to a university website.

“I think the only person who knows my age is someone I knew from Grossmont College,” Max said.

As for his future plans, Max said graduate school is likely, with a continuing focus on applied math, which he describes as the process of analyzing data using mathematics.

As for the commencement, Max confesses that until he received a phone call last week informing him of his status as the youngest graduate, he hadn’t given it much thought.

“What day is graduation?” he asked the caller.

Later the same evening, he sent the following e-mail:

“I just wanted to let you know that I will attend the graduation ceremony. (I can afford to miss some classes and a pot luck once in a while),” he wrote, referring to the mealtime get-togethers he and his brother are so fond of attending at the International House.

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