I am not sure what you were up to at 12 years old, but I can tell you what I wasn't doing: going to college. The same cannot be said for Caleb Anderson, who recently started his sophomore year at Chattahoochee Technical College in Marietta, GA.
It is no surprise that Caleb is on such a fast track. Before he could even speak he had learned sign language, according to First Coast News. At two years old, he was not only reading, but at a rather high level. As his family recalls, "By nine months old, he was able to sign over 250 words, and by 11 months old, he was speaking and reading."
By two years old, he was reading far beyond Dr. Seuss. His choice of literature also included the United States Constitution. At the age of three, he was not only learning English, but Spanish, French and even Mandarin. While he qualified for MENSA at age three, he didn't join until he was five years old, still making him the youngest African-American boy to join, according to his parents.
Caleb flew through elementary, middle and high school. "As we started to interact with other parents, and had other children, then we started to realize how exceptional this experience was, because we had no other frame of reference," said Caleb's father, Kobi to First Coast News. Caleb's mom Claire recalled her son saying: "Mom, I'm bored. This is not challenging. It's really not helping me grow in my learning, and I think I'm ready for college." Truth is, when I was 12 years old and bored, I was trying to find enough returnables to cash in so I could go play Space Invaders. Caleb is majoring in aerospace engineering. Hey, at least we both had space in common.
Because of Caleb's age, his father Kobi has to accompany him on campus. "Yes, going back to college," he chuckled. However, while most parents are able to assist their 12-year-old children with homework, not often does that include calculous two. "He has far surpassed me in math, so I can't help him anymore."
Caleb has two siblings, Aaron and Hannah, who are also also gifted. So one would have to ask how they went about raising such exceptional children. In response Claire gave this advice:
"Raise the child you have, not the child you want.
Fully invest in the skills and talents your child has and remember there are free resources.
Focus on creating a love for learning, not just the learning itself.
The end goal to what you teach them should go back to building character.
Teach them to appreciate the gifts other people have.
As parents, it's important to remember you are always enough for your children."
"I think people have a negative perspective when it comes to African-American boys. There are many other Calebs out there. African-American boys like him," Claire said. "From being a teacher— I really believe that. But they don't have the opportunity or the resources."
Caleb is on pace to graduate college at the age of 14, and hopes to continue his education at MIT or Georgia Tech. As for me, I'm going to drink my last Fresca, and add it to the cans I am returning in exchange for a quarter and go find an arcade. Caleb, you can handle aerospace engineering and I will take care of Space Invaders.
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