11-year-old Gilbert girl heading to Harvard

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Ria Cheruvu says she will major in neural cryptography at Harvard. (Source: KPHO/KTVK) Ria Cheruvu says she will major in neural cryptography at Harvard. (Source: KPHO/KTVK)
Arizona Connections Academy class of 2015 (Source: KPHO/KTVK) Arizona Connections Academy class of 2015 (Source: KPHO/KTVK)
Ria Cheruvu was the valedictorian. (Source: KPHO/KTVK) Ria Cheruvu was the valedictorian. (Source: KPHO/KTVK)
GILBERT, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -

An 11-year-old girl from Gilbert has just graduated from high school and is now on her way to college. But not just any college. She is going to Harvard.

Ria Cheruvu was the valedictorian of the graduating class of the online school Arizona Connections Academy.

"People ask me, 'How are you going to deal with kids that are bigger than you?'" she said. "I just want to interact with brains that are just like mine and share my thoughts."

She says she knows she is different from most kids her age.

"Yes, I do [know that], but every person is unique. That is what I believe," she said. "Every person has a talent; they just have to believe in themselves."

Ria's mom, Sunitha Cheruvu, says she knew her daughter was gifted when she was 9 months old. When Ria was 7 and in fourth grade, the principal told the family they should put her in accelerated classes online.

Ria plans on majoring in neural cryptography and studying artificial intelligence at Harvard.

Her mom will go with her to college, and Ria says she is not worried.

"My mom has taught me, you can make friends regardless," she said. "Connections are out there; you just have to grasp out."

Ria says she has plenty of friends her age from the neighborhood and from playing golf and piano.

She says she plans on keeping in touch with them while at Harvard through her mom's email and Facebook page because she isn't old enough to have her own social media accounts yet.

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