It's a first: High school freshman ready to graduate

Jason Rader. (KRNV)

RENO, Nev. (KRNV) - Fifteen-year-old Jason Rader's passion is music. In particular, the electric guitar. Of course, he's not alone.

"It's the most cliche instrument ever for a teenage boy, but I kind of fell in love with it," he said.

But once he'd been bitten by the music bug, Jason realized that is where is his future is. He's hoping to become a professional musician one day. He quickly realized there was only one thing standing in the way of that dream: four years of high school.

"I knew what I wanted to do and school wasn't going to help me get there," he said.

So, Jason convinced the principal at Fernley High School to let him cram four years of study into one.

We asked the principal, Kent Jones, if he had any reservations about the plan.

"Um, every day!" Jones said with a laugh.

Jason routinely puts in very long days, combining his regular classes with college credit coursework and, of course, his music. And with finals approaching, this is definitely crunch time.

"A lot of papers due, this and that, so you're up until 10 or 11 every night," he said.

Fernley High's principal says it's pretty exciting to have a student graduate in just one year. He says sometimes exceptional students like Jason come along who require some flexibility from an educational standpoint. And Jones says that's just what happened in this case.

"We kind of created a system that would fit him," he said. "It took everybody, my counselor to work a lot of hours trying to track everything."

And Jason, we have learned, may very well be the first ever Nevada student to graduate after just one year of high school.

"I think it's incredibly uncommon," said Greg Bortolin, spokesman for the Nevada Department of Education. "We heard back from five or six districts including Washoe. They had not heard of anybody who has graduated after their freshman year. So, this is an amazing accomplishment."

While many students are still settling into high school at the end of their freshman year, Jason is getting ready to move on and chase his dreams.

Even though he's still not quite old enough to drive, he is ready to graduate.

"It's kind of surreal because you think, after this, I'm done."

The only thing holding Jason up right now is his mother, actually.

She has told him he can't leave home until he's 16.

So, he's hoping to attend music school in Massachusetts starting next year.

That will give him plenty of time to practice up in the meantime.

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