If you were to walk into RCC and see Dominick Littman walking around with his young son, Ronnie, you most likely would normally assume that the father was the student. However, in the case of Ronnie, normal has never been a self-descriptor.
At only 12-years-old, Ronnie is the youngest college student at Rappahannock Community College. From birth, Dominick says “he’s always been acutely aware that he’s different,” when it comes to academics. “His IQ is off the charts. John Hopkins tested him twice because they couldn’t believe the result the first time.”
Due to his incredible brain power, Ronnie’s parents decided if they “didn’t do something, [to enhance his education] it was going to be detrimental.” Although he was already attending Walsingham Academy, the family chose RCC for Ronnie to continue his education. While he took the entrance exam at 10-years-old, they waited two years before enrolling Ronnie in the college.
Before Ronnie’s entrance into the college, however, he was already making leaps because of his exceptional IQ.
“He started to read and write at an incredibly young age,” says Dominick. “Like even in preschool, his preschool teacher would have him read to the other students.” His passion for reading continues now, as he says, “I like nonfiction books that are modern, but I like to read fiction from a long time ago, because they have words that aren’t commonly used anymore, and I like to learn as much as I can.”
Outside of academics, Ronnie excels in most anything he puts his mind to. “Ronnie’s got a million interests, and he’s really good at all of them,” reports his parents. “He’s done all kinds of plays where he got lead roles,” they continue. “He’s great at singing … he’s gotten every award a Cub Scout can win, he was an altar boy, and he plays soccer.”
Amidst his extracurricular and ‘generic kid’ activities, Enrolled at Walsingham Academy, Ronnie continued to outgrow his academic atmosphere as well, causing teachers to “run out of the ability to keep up with him.” After waiting a few years, his parents finally decided upon enrolling Ronnie at RCC.
In his first semester at the college, Ronnie is taking “College Composition,” “Student Success Skills,” and “Math.” Even though a jump from a grade school to a college can be a large transition, but Ronnie says, “I like challenges, and that’s what I’m getting here.” As he says, “it’s not really the quality of the work, as much as the quantity.” And being here, “actually working,” is what makes him content.
Because a 12-year-old in a college atmosphere isn’t a customary childhood, Ronnie’s parents try to “give him as normal a childhood as we possibly can.” They say, “We’re aware of the fact he’s not spending as much time with kids his own age, whatever we did there were upsides and downsides to it.” Eventually, though, the academic side won out and a college atmosphere was chosen as the best prospect.
After Ronnie’s time at RCC, he’s already planning on “transferring to a 4-year school” and possibly entering a field of science. He is interested in physics because, as he says, “it’s just fascinating the way the world works. we know almost nothing about it, and what we do know, most of it isn’t even definite. We’re here on the Earth and we’re figuring out how we ourselves work and everything else works.”
Ronnie’s parents are very supportive of their son’s academic choices. “He’s one of the few people that doesn’t have limitations if he actually applies himself,” his father says. “Right now he’s very, very interested in science. if I had to guess, I’d say he’d go into something like research.”
“Sometimes, I just want to fit in,” Ronnie says, “but it doesn’t seem like something that would normally happen. I mean, I’m 12, on a college campus.”
“As people get over the newness of him and the novelty of him, he’ll be fine,” Dominick says.
Even though it may feel strange now, Ronnie is still hopeful of the positive experience RCC can give him. “It feels different, but I know that I’m pretty much the same as everyone else inside.” — Mary Cline