Shrouded in mystery and misconception, Las Positas College is situated on the hills in the city of Livermore. Like many community colleges, LPC is locked in a constant battle with stigmatization, facing ostracizing names like “Lost Potential” and “UCBC – University of California, Behind Costco.”
But for students like Kairan Quazi, the school serves as a launching pad for possibilities with more prosperous undertones. At budding age of just 10 years old, Kairan is the youngest student to ever enroll at LPC. He is currently a sophomore.
Born on Jan. 27, 2009 to Mustahid – a former chemical engineer – and Jullia Quazi, Kairan started showing signs of advanced academic development in his early childhood. At an age when children were just barely beginning to utter single words, Kairan was already able to speak in full sentences and understand complex world topics.
“The doctors actually told us when he was about two-years-old that his IQ and his EQ were off the charts,” said Kairan’s mother, Jullia, “At two years old he was talking about Egyptian democracy. At three years old, he was following the presidential re-election campaign of Barack Obama, and he was following all the debates and carrying a conversation out on it.”
Despite having an IQ in the 99th percentile, Kairan had a normal childhood. As his curiosity began to grow, he started to immerse himself in the studies of the STEM field, especially in Mathematics and Computer Science. This lead to him self-teaching himself in calculus and by the age of nine, he had become proficient in 19 programming languages and interfaces. However, this was when he started facing problems, especially at school where he found the lessons redundant and started acting out.
Due to the issues at school, doctors suggested that Kairan would function best in a college environment after taking in account for his EQ and executive functioning abilities. Furthermore, Kairan did not display any symptons of social disorders or disabilities that some profoundly gifted children face.
The process of having Kairan attend college was a journey with many new obstacles for the Quazi family.
“It took a lot of phone calls. We called actually a lot of colleges and no one called us back,” said Jullia “And then we begged Las Positas for an interview and some meetings just to help them understand. So it took several meetings and giving Las Positas a lot of information from the doctors, psychiatrist and the National Research to allow them to give him a chance.”
After jumping through many hoops Kairan was finally able to enroll at Las Positas for the Fall 2018 semester at age nine, becoming the youngest student in the history of the school, a record formerly held by Jack Hsai, who was 12 years old at his time of enrollment.
Arriving to school on his first day wearing a suit and tie, Kairan felt like a fish out of water amongst a school of much older students, yet he could not contain his immense anticipation.
“Most of the time, I just think ‘Wow, I can’t believe how lucky I am,’” said Kairan. “The administration, the professors and my classamtes at Las Positas have been supportive. I have a lof of friends here, and I love being on campus.”
Though the dilemma of Kairan’s education was partially solved, his family was still not completely out of the woods. Per California law, children between the ages of six and 18 are required to attend the K through 12 grade system. Failure to do so may result in fines or imprisonment under the state’s truancy law. Despite his concurrent college education, Kairan was not exempt from this rule. This led him to, at first, juggle his days: elementary school in the mornings and college in the afternoons. Seeing the toll and exhaustion it was taking on Kairan, his family devised a plan to resolve the issue.
“In October, he’s taking his Californian High School Exit Exam, so he can be exempt from the K through 12 requirements,” said Jullia. “We’re assuming he’s going to be passing but right now he’s attending a college full-time.”
When word of a preteen college student first picked up waves, the Quazi family once found themselves as the center of attention, but this time for the better. Kairan was featured and interviewed by various media outlets in his first school year as a college student. This included Good Morning America, The Huffington Post, Voice of America, The San Francsico Chronicle and the MIT Technology Review.
Amidst lots of peering eyes and attention, Kairan signed up for an internship at Intel Labs from summer to fall 2019. Today, he is also the youngest tutor at Las Positas.
Despite everyone’s perception of him as a prodigal genius, Kairan is no different from a regular 10 year old. In his free time, he enjoys the usual delights that most kids his age partake in, such as playing Fortnite with his friends in an esports truck on his birthday. While his parent’s do give him a push in his academic progress, they also wish to have their son to be surrounded by friends and peers of his age and allow him to take a break from studies on the weekends.
Kairan still does exhibit the mischievous side of a regular preteen despite his well-beyond his year intellect.
“(He is) very naughty, always in trouble, doesn’t listen to anything we say, doesn’t follow any rules, argues constantly, and he’s always on timeout,” said Jullia. “He is a very regular 10 year old with a very big brain and a big mouth.”
The one thing that has defined Kairan most of all, is his dedication and humbleness. Using his gifts, he became a tutor to give back to Las Positas for all their help, his familiar love for his family and an egaer friend to all. Despite his massive headstart, Kairan hopes to abide by the amount of time required to receive his PhD in Mathematics and Computer Science by the age of 30. When asked why, he replied that he wants to, he replied “I want to stay at college for fun stuff.” With his tenure at Las Positas possibly coming to an end, Kairan has without a doubt left an impact on Las Positas, with him being among the very few talent Las Positas have nurtured and raised. In the end, he is a genius that has yet to be discovered.