Caleb Anderson is not yet a teenager, but he’s already a sophomore in college. The 12-year-old Marietta, Georgia, resident is working toward an associate degree while getting his high school credits at Chattahoochee Technical College.
Anderson has always been advanced, having learned to read as a baby at just 6 months old. At 9 months, he could sign more than 250 words in American Sign Language and read words he hadn’t seen before, his mother, Claire Anderson, told USA Today.
“I was getting my master’s in education so I knew that there was something special about that,” she said.
He quickly skipped ahead in school, which wasn’t always easy for the young prodigy.
“They looked down on me because I was younger than them,” he told NPR. “And not only that, the curriculum was boring to me because I learn really, really fast. One day I came to my mom and she asked me, ‘Are you happy here?’ and I said, ‘No, I’m really bored. This isn’t challenging me.’”
He hopes to one day enroll at Georgia Tech — the school is already trying to recruit him — and become an aerospace engineer.
“When I was like 1, I always wanted to go to space,” he told USA Today. “I figured that aerospace engineering would be the best path.”
Watch Anderson speak about his extraordinary life experience in the clip below from “CBS This Morning”:
Despite his impressive accomplishments, the young scholar remains humble.
“I’m not really smart; I just grasp information quickly, so if I learn quicker, then I can get ahead faster,” he explained in the CBS interview.
Here’s a shot of Anderson hard at work, posted to his Facebook page:
Caleb has two younger siblings, Aaron, 8, and Hannah, 7. Both are in the gifted program at their school.
Anderson’s parents, Claire and dad Kobi, hope that their son’s story will serve as inspiration for others.
“As a teenager, I remember downplaying my intelligence,” his dad told NPR. “Being a young Black male, there are these negative stereotypes that are reinforced quite frequently. And so the attention is an opportunity to bring another story to light, one that we hope will inspire others to foster the gifts that their kids have.”
They also stress that it’s important for their son to know that intelligence is not the only quality he should cultivate.
His mom said that as parents, they work “to make sure that when he is an adult, he’ll make a great husband, a great father, a great friend one day.”