By Bridgett Hernandez

At 5 feet, 9 inches, Forrest Cunningham Jr. blends in with the rest of the class of 2018 at Bishop Dwenger High School. 

You wouldn’t immediately know just by looking at him that the 15-year-old is four years younger than most of his classmates.

That’s because Forrest started his high school career when he was 11 years old. He was homeschooled before passing a high school placement test. On May 25, he became the youngest Bishop Dwenger graduate in recent memory.

Forrest also completed welding classes at Fort Wayne Community School’s Career Academy, where he earned four welding certificates. He has been accepted into Purdue University Fort Wayne, where he plans to double major in civil and mechanical engineering, a five-year program.

In addition to his academic achievements, Forrest also is a taekwondo champion and holds 16 gold medals in the AAU Junior Olympics. Between his studies and his training, he’s a busy young man. Here’s a glimpse into a day in his life on May 9, 2018.

6:02 a.m. Forrest’s dad, Forrest Sr., makes breakfast for his son each morning. This morning, it’s eggs and fruit arranged in the shape of a smiling face. Forrest Sr. tries to start each day with positivity and laughter, so that his son is “programmed” for a great day. Photo by Bridgett Hernandez
6:27 a.m. Forrest ties his shoes as he gets ready to go to school. Several taekwondo trophies sit on the ledge above the front door. Photo by Bridgett Hernandez
12:43 p.m. Forrest and senior classmate David Dowling work on a project in their theology class. They are designing a mandala, a spiritual and ritual symbol in Hinduism and Buddhism. The friends first met in music class during their freshman year at Bishop Dwenger. Photo by Bridgett Hernandez
2:38 p.m. In his welding technology class at Anthis Career Academy, Forrest uses a computer program to cut a design out of a sheet of metal. He has earned four certificates for welding. Forrest said that if he ever falls on hard times, he will still be able to earn a living with his skills. Photo by Bridgett Hernandez
2:45 p.m. Forrest welds in a booth at Anthis Career Academy. Forrest enjoys the hands-on nature of welding, and instructor Anthony Troutner said the skills he gained in class will give him a leg up in his engineering degree program. Photo by Bridgett Hernandez
7:04 p.m. Forrest trains at his dad’s “dojang” or taekwondo studio, Cunningham’s Fort Wayne Tae Kwon Do. Forrest Sr. observes the class. Photo by Bridgett Hernandez
7:06 p.m. Forrest spars with another student. He is actually a black belt instructor at Cunningham’s Fort Wayne Tae Kwon Do, working with children and adults. Photo by Bridgett Hernandez
7:27 p.m. At the end of class, Forrest shares a laugh with the other students. He and his dad clean the studio each night before heading home. Photo by Bridgett Hernandez