MORENO VALLEY, Calif. — If the future is in the hands of Moreno Valley teen and tween, Pooja and Rojit Datir, it’s looking bright. They seem like your average 12 and 14-year-old, but the brother and sister are the youngest graduates from West LA College.
"Work hard in silence, let your success be the noise," is the quote that keeps Pooja and Rojit Datir going as they study.
For most kids their age, success is surviving another awkward day in elementary and middle school.
“We know that it’s a pretty big accomplishment, but me and him, we both feel like we’re just normal kids, like we like to do normal things, go eat, eat takeout," 14-year-old Pooja said.
They feel normal, but Pooja and Rojit are part of the Class of 2021 with four associates degrees each in math and computer science, arts and humanities, health professions and health science.
“When I was in elementary school, I was finishing the work really quickly because it was really simple for me and after I finished that, the teachers gave me extra work and I finished that easily as well so they proposed going to college," 12-year-old Rojit explained.
Their 5th and 7th grade teachers ran out of material to give them, so they started taking courses at West LA College.
The two continued grade school simultaneously, but skipped all the way to high school and even though they’re technically juniors now, they have enough credits to graduate high school as well.
Somehow they also find several hours a week to volunteer, sorting and scanning paperwork from a dental office, so the future doctors can get an understanding of medical records.
“We’re able to do a lot in the future because we had this knowledge early on so I really love it because we get to do so much at an early age when other people, they don’t have the opportunity to do these things so it’s really great," Rojit said.
He's planning to be a shock trauma surgeon and Pooja wants to be an OBGYN.
They’ve turned almost every open room in their new house into a work space — even the den is used for their to-do lists.
They doing it, simply because they love to study. The siblings are 100% self-driven. Their parents say they have no idea how these kids became prodigies with enough accolades to cover the kitchen table for their studies and volunteer work.
“Many nights, I used to wake up sometimes 3 a.m., 4 a.m., and they would say 'yeah, we’re still studying.' I used to say, I would tell them, 'play some games, act like a normal kid!'" Their father, Rahul Datir laughed.
Now they’ll have a little more time to be normal, for Rojit to work out and Pooja to dance. Their parents are keeping them home for a couple more years before they’re off to an Ivy League or accelerated medical program, at least until Pooja is old enough to drive.
“So they’ll feel a little bit more comfortable if we go somewhere for college. That I can drive, I can get groceries and all that," Pooja laughed.
In the meantime, they say, they'll find new research and volunteer opportunities and lead by example, not by words.
The two plan to take their PSAT in October and the SAT in December. They say they’re hoping to score the prestigious National Merit Scholarship that’s only awarded to the highest scorers in their grade.