A young black student, whose educational progress has taken him further than his classmates, is now the talk of the town in Washington, D.C., in the U.S.
Curtis Lawrence, who is only 14-years-old, has started his freshman year at George Washington University.
While most of his age mates are high school freshmen, the young Washington D.C. native is experiencing campus life.
This was made possible due to a program at his high school in the district called School Without Walls.
“In my university writing class, my professor asked me if I was a visitor or if I was someone’s younger brother,” Lawrence said. “Most of the people that I sit at tables with. They ask me how old am I and how am I here – so I tell them everything,” Lawrence told WJLA.
“My topic is Africa and the African diaspora,” he said. “When I’m in a class, I think of myself as a student. I’m either a high school student or a college student. And then I look in the mirror and I’m like, ‘Oh, I look this young,’ and I keep forgetting that.”
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?’”
Lawrence said he wanted to take a larger course load but his adviser warned against taking on too much in his first semester.
At age 10, he took the SATs; he also studied abroad in China, where he stayed with a Chinese family and improved his Mandarin, according to wtop.com.
“He was very methodical about planning what classes he would take. Curtis completed the required classes to graduate from high school, aside from some physical education classes”, Malene Lawrence said of her son.
Even though the 14-year-old has a few credits left to graduate from high school, thanks to School_Without_Walls, he was eligible to enrol at George Washington University while still in his high school.
While he is the youngest student at School without Walls to enrol in George Washington University as a freshman, the university says he is currently “the youngest student in our traditional undergraduate on-campus program.”
“In University writing class, it took a while for everyone to introduce themselves. And so I recently introduced myself. But up until that point, everyone was really confused about how I was there. And so after that, they were like, ‘Oh that’s really cool.’
“And someone else said, ‘You’re putting us to shame,’” Lawrence said. He now looks forward to studying Computer Science and Paleontology at Florida A & M while his 13-year-old brother, Corey, wants to study to become an astrophysicist at Hampton University.