At age 10 while most boys were thinking of the latest video game, Curtis Lawrence III was taking his SATs. Now a teenager, Lawrence has his eyes set on attending an HBCU after receiving more than $1.6 million in college scholarships and being accepted into top universities in the country.
The 16-year-old graduated from DC’s School Without Walls, a magnet high school, and started taking early college classes through a special program at George Washington University when he was just 14 years old.
Lawrence has now been accepted into Ivy League schools including George Washington University, Hampton, Harvard, Howard, Morehouse, Morgan, North Carolina A&T, UC Berkeley, University of Chicago, and Yale.
However, the next phase of his educational journey will be at Florida Agricultural & Mechanical University where he will take a double major in biology and computer science.
“First I started thinking about what schools had good biology programs,” the 16-year-old told FOX 5 DC. “Then I started looking specifically at HBCUs because I wanted the HBCU experience and to be surrounded by the people who are just like me and who are not only Black but academically talented.”
He learned to read by age two from his mother. Both parents are educators with two gifted sons. “My mom just always pushed education, pushed advanced academics and especially being at the elementary school in Harlem, I was surrounded by other people who were advanced, so it just felt like the norm for me,” Lawrence said.
The gifted boy’s mother, Malene Lawrence, said her son has “loved dinosaurs and paleontology literally since he was one. And some people think, ‘Oh, your kid is going to grow out of that.’ But you foster that love of whatever it is.”
“So we’d keep dinosaur books. Like, we kept tons of nonfiction books in the car, and he would be pronouncing the names of dinosaurs and I was like, ‘How does this kid know this?’”
Apart from taking the SATs at age 10, he also studied abroad in China, where he stayed with a Chinese family and improved his Mandarin, according to wtop.com.
His parents are supportive of his ambitions and knew from the onset he wanted to take it to the doctorate level. And that is what they are working towards as a family.
“This has been a really long process that kind of started in seventh grade as we were thinking about college prep,” said Malene Lawerence. “His goal is to get a Ph.D., so we kind of helped him plan backward.”
Lawrence is ever grateful to his parents for instilling in him the “love for learning” and the chance to advance himself in academia.
“We’ve taught them from an early age that education is key to opening up the opportunities and having access to things that they want to live,” his father, Curtis Lawrence, told FOX 5 DC. “Since they were born, we’ve given them those experiences to make sure they know the importance of education.