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Montgomery 16-year-old graduates college, aiming for a second degree

16-year-old Mariannah Harding graduated high school in 2016 and college in 2021.
16-year-old Mariannah Harding graduated high school in 2016 and college in 2021.(WSFA)
Published: Sep. 26, 2021 at 12:25 PM CDT
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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - Many living rooms were converted into makeshift classrooms after COVID-19 hit. Rather than meeting in-person, several students took on a new challenge – virtual learning.

While the pandemic did affect Montgomery 16-year-old Mariannah Harding, who could no longer attend her ballet classes, her school life remained relatively similar. Harding had already been homeschooled for years.

“During a regular day, we weren’t necessarily all together,” Harding said on studying alongside her siblings. “We might be in the same room or we we’re working on different subjects at a time.”

Unlike most, she graduated high school in 2016 at the age of 11, before virtually pursuing a bachelor’s degree in health science from Bellevue University. She just graduated this August.

Harding is number eight in a line of 10 siblings who all started college around age 12. They are known as the “Brainy Bunch.” But mother Mona Lisa Harding said it’s less about brains and more about drive.

“My kids are not any smarter than anybody else’s – they’re really motivated and they’re very hard working – but really feel like anyone can get these kinds of results,” the mother said.

She said the option to homeschool has been a “blessing.” The mother also believes it is important to allow each child to pursue their interests.

“Figuring out what their passions are when they’re young is key,” she added.

Mariannah Harding is passionate about plants. Whether she is harvesting tomatoes, picking okra or watching her loofah plant grow day-by-day, having a green thumb brings her joy.

She has learned a thing or two over the past six years of gardening and through watching educational videos. Now that she has a degree, she is interested in another.

The teen is applying to attend Auburn University to study horticulture.

“So, I hope to learn more about gardening, and plants, and all of the benefits that come with that because obviously agriculture plays such a big role in our society,” Mariannah Harding said.

She wants to use her skills to make the world a better place, and has been toying with the idea of establishing community gardens in downtown Montgomery.

For now, the 16-year-old college graduate is tending to the gardens outside her home, with dreams that could one day become yet another remarkable reality.

Mariannah Harding and her siblings have attended a plethora of different colleges and universities:

· Hannah - Auburn University at Montgomery & Tuskegee University

· Rosannah - Auburn University

· Serennah - Huntingdon College

· Heath - Troy University - Montgomery Campus

· Keith - Faulkner University

· Seth - The University of Alabama

· Katrinnah - Faulkner University

· Mariannah - Bellevue University

· Lorennah - Bellevue University

· Thunder - Bellevue University

The family encourages those with questions to reach out through collegebytwelve@gmail.com. You can also see more from the Hardings on their YouTube channel.

Copyright 2021 WSFA 12 News. All rights reserved.