Ormond Beach student earns associate degree at 16

Aziza Kadirbek graduated from high school at 14. Two years later, she's already working on her bachelor's.

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  • | 4:00 p.m. July 17, 2023
Aziza Kadirbek graduated with her associate degree from DSC at 16. Courtesy photo
Aziza Kadirbek graduated with her associate degree from DSC at 16. Courtesy photo
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Ormond Beach resident Aziza Kadirbek graduated from Flagler Palm Coast High School at 14 and earned her associate degree at 16, taking just over a year to complete the degree.

She is now pursuing a bachelor’s in health care at the University of Central Florida. Kadirbek is interested in anesthesiology and hopes to one day attend medical school.

“I think all of us kind of look up to my mom and my dad,” Kadirbek said. “My dad was a neurosurgeon in Uzbekistan, and comes from a family of neurosurgeons.”

Her mother, Nargiza Ayupova, said she has always emphasized the importance of education to her children.

“Success is not about talent or intelligence, it is also about persistence and sheer determination,” Ayupova said.

Aziza Kadirbek graduated with her associate degree from DSC at age 16. Courtesy photo

Kadirbek took part in dual enrollment, a program that allows students to attend college while still in high school. 

She enrolled at FPC’s Allied Health CTE program and took classes with Viki White, a teacher who Kardibek said ignited her interest in the medical field. 

“I think that she (Kadirbek) is aware that she has not had the ‘normal’ school experience, yet she remains humble,” White said. “Aziza is unique in that she has an ability to make everyone feel valuable and included.”

White said she hopes Kadirbek “stays curious.”

Kadirbek excelled on the Postsecondary Education Readiness Test, known as PERT, achieving high scores in math, reading and writing. 

So, with the support of Daytona State College adviser Mark Nabors, she embarked on a rigorous academic path, taking four to five college classes each semester, including summers. 

She completed her associate degree in just over a year.

“It was noticeable that she was highly intelligent and goal-oriented,” Nabors said.

Most students take two to three classes per semester, but Ayupova encouraged her daughter to take on a heavier course load. 

“I want to be just like my mother,” Kadirbek said. “She’s the only one that’s pushing me. If it wasn’t for her, I would not be doing this at all.”

Kadirbek’s achievements have also motivated her friends, cousins and three younger siblings to pursue their own educational goals. 

Her brother Imronbek Kadirbek, 12 and an eighth grader at Imagine School at Town Center, has already taken the PERT to take classes at DSC.


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