Savannah, Georgia native Darrel Bryant is graduating from St. John Academy a year early. The 16-year-old high school senior has a list of achievements, including writing a book at 11. The Flower Nerd was written after Bryant learned of a 10-year-old girl in Colorado who killed herself due to bullying. 

In December, Bryant will receive his diploma — a whole year early, according to WJCL. His former teacher at St. John, Janice West, said all of his hard work is deserving of early graduation. Bryant’s plans after high school include attending Savannah Technical College, where he will study aircraft assembly. The Georgia student is still looking for the best fit for his bachelor’s degree.

“I’ve known him since seventh grade. He’s now in 12th,” West said. “I was excited for him (when they announced his early graduation). Yeah, he deserves it. He’s worked hard, and he deserves to leave early.”

Bryant maintained a 4.0 GPA and was a National Society of High School Scholars member. His mother, Shyann, revealed that she “immediately” knew her son would excel in school. Bryant’s cousin and math tutor, Tywana Barnes, said he’s always applied himself to be the best in everything he does.

“He’s always had that mindset to just always just be a go-getter. Always wants to do more, always wants to go above and beyond,” Barnes said. “Being average has never been a part of his character.”

In November, Bryant received 17 offers from SCAD, Harvard, Yale, Brown, and other renowned schools with scholarships totaling $600,000. Outside of his academic studies, Bryant is your average teen who spends his free time playing video games and making stop-motion videos.

Although he is leaving his peers behind, he is determined to be a positive example, even though he is the youngest in the classroom. He wants his classmates to know anything is possible if you set goals and apply yourself.

“I want to be able to create an image for myself that shows who I am to others. I want to inspire other people to do great things,” Bryant said.

“You just have to make goals for yourself and just don’t mind what other people say,” Bryant said in response to how he would encourage himself and other students. “‘Oh, you can’t do that. You can’t do that.’ Yes, you can. Don’t let others degrade you or discourage you from your goals.”