By: Amanda Anderson
At 13 years old, most of us were still running around getting into trouble and driving our parents crazy. We were learning how to tackle peer pressure, and getting adjusted to being the tortuous teenagers our parents were hoping we would never become. School was a burden and we would rather play video games and hang out with our friends. These are the things that the typical 13 year old engages in. But Stephen Stafford II is anything but a typical 13 year old. Why? He is a 13 year old college student, and he happens to attend Morehouse College.
Stafford, notoriously known as the 13 year old Morehouse College Student, is a triple major in pre-med, science and math. While he may not even be old enough to drive, he is attending his second year of college at the historically black college.
Obviously gifted with an intense passion for learning, Stephen actually began his path to higher education at such a young age due to the effectiveness of home schooling.
His mother, Michelle-Brown Stafford, was his teacher during his years of home schooling. While she has home schooled both her children (Stephen has an older sister who is also attending college), she realized that it may be time for Stephen to attend college once he began to teach her instead of being taught.
She says on letting him go to Morehouse College:
“It was surreal because on one hand he’s talking about technical things I didn’t even understand, and on the other hand he was asking me to come watch Sponge Bob with him. So it was bittersweet to let him go.”
But she didn’t let him go too far of course. While Stephen may be in his second year of college, he does not live on campus. Since he is still a 13 year old, his mother picks him up from campus each day after classes.
Stephen also gets a lot of support from students and staff at Morehouse College. He gets along with most of his classmates, and even has a close friendship with one of his peers. Eric Crawford, a third year Psychology and Computer Science Major, not only considers Stephen a great inspiration, but also an exceptional tutor.
“When I saw how much knowledge Stephen has at such a young age, I wondered what I had been doing with my life. Even though I’m older, Stephen is like a mentor and my elder in computer science. Stephen has a lot of patience with me. I got a 95 in the class because of Stephen.”
Stephen is still the typical kid, and enjoys playing video games and watching his favorite programs on Nickeloden. The difference is he just knows when it is time to focus. He isn’t afraid to do the work.
Stephen says regarding hanging with kids his age and being one of the youngest Morehouse College students:
“I relate better to Eric…most kids my age don’t know when to stop playing around and when to be serious. I just do what I always did. I show up, I do the work, and I go home.”
So what’s the plan for Stephen Stafford II? He plans to graduate from Morehouse College in 2012, and then attend Morehouse School of Medicine. And since he is a resident of Georgia, a state where students who are 16 are required to graduate high school, he will receive his high school diploma the same year he receives his college degrees.
At 13 years old, Stafford is already attending one of the most prestigious black universities in the country. And by the age of 16, he will be very well on his way to medical school. If Stafford proves anything, it is that a little hard work and dedication will get you anywhere you want to go in life. And nothing, not even your age, can stop you if you just stay focused.
I’ll bet everything I have that this young man is going to an amazing doctor one day. And we’re all watching him do just that.