At 18, Texas student ready to graduate — from college

FORT WORTH — Marlaina Weisl said she wasn't surprised that her son, Troy Dodge, could read by age 3. His three older brothers read to him frequently, so she thought it was natural.

After he took a test in first grade, Dodge's unusually high intelligence was evident. So she took him out of school about a month after he started and devoted much of her life to home-schooling him.

The reward comes Saturday when Dodge graduates at age 18 from Texas Christian University. He is the youngest of 1,114 undergraduates in the Class of 2009.

Several other gifted young students will also don robes for upcoming commencement ceremonies at area colleges. Perhaps the best known is Wen Chyan, a student at the Texas Academy of Mathematics and Science at the University of North Texas. Chyan, who won a $100,000 scholarship for his medical research, will join 143 classmates who simultaneously completed the last two years of high school and the first two years of college.

Dodge's journey was more solitary. TCU doesn't count how many younger students attend, but they are rare, said Shawn Kornegay, associate director of communications.

Dodge said that he wanted to major in psychology and that TCU offered him a scholarship that covered his tuition.

"I came for a visit," he said. "That’s when I definitely knew TCU was going to be my college of choice. They continued to show the friendliness. They showed that they really desired for me to be there."