13-Year-Old Woodbridge Prodigy Enters College at George Mason University

By Jennifer Buske
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, September 17, 2009

Most GMU students haven't serenaded Obama. Most haven't parlayed a passion into a Smithsonian exhibit and national TV exposure. And most aren't 13.

Perform on violin for President Obama?


Earn a high school diploma and start college?


Celebrate a sweet 16 birthday?

Che . . . well, not just yet.

At age 13, Woodbridge resident Paige Epler has built a résumé that could rival those of people twice her age and has become one of the youngest people to receive a high school diploma from an accredited U.S. school.

And, with that behind her, the prodigy started another academic endeavor last week: college at George Mason University.

"It's amazing she is only 13 and already comfortable in a college atmosphere," said Pam Epler, Paige's mother. "She feels excited and challenged about the academic opportunities there."

Paige graduated from the University of Oklahoma High School in Norman, Okla., on June 5. After starting at the distance-learning school when she was just 9 years old, Paige, who gave the commencement speech, finished with a 4.0 grade-point average.

"I'm very proud that I could challenge myself, reach my full potential and reach the goals that I set for myself," Paige said. "This is the era of thinking outside of the box, so I did. I found a way to obtain my high school diploma when I finished the work, rather than because I was a certain age. I hope I can inspire others to always strive to reach their full potential, too."

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