12-year-old prodigy Caleb Anderson is already a college sophomore
Caleb Anders / Anderson family photo

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.

Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
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Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
True

Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

Keep Reading Show less