Marietta boy, 12, studying aerospace engineering as full-time college student

Caleb Anderson, 12, is a sophomore studying aerospace engineering at Chattahoochee Technical College. Credit: Claire Anderson
Caleb Anderson, 12, is a sophomore studying aerospace engineering at Chattahoochee Technical College. Credit: Claire Anderson

Credit: Claire Anderson

Credit: Claire Anderson

Claire and Kobi Anderson knew their 12-year-old son was special when he was still an infant. Within a few months of his birth, Caleb was mimicking words. By nine months, he could understand and perform sign language. By 15 months, he knew the names of countries on a map and could read the U.S. Constitution at the age of 2.

He breezed through advanced classes at the now-closed Shreiner Academy when he was a toddler. But the Andersons' world changed when results from an IQ test cemented what they already knew about their son.

“This child is extremely and profoundly gifted,” Claire Anderson recalled what the psychologists interpreted from his results. “They said you have to feed him intellectually. It would be like child abuse if you didn’t.”

The Andersons, who live in Marietta, took that message to heart and enrolled Caleb as a full-time student at Chattahoochee Technical College in fall 2019. Caleb, a sophomore studying aerospace engineering, said he wanted to attend college after he became bored with the classes while enrolled in private schools.

“It was more memory and repetition, and I didn’t find it challenging at all,” he said of elementary and middle school.

Claire Anderson said her son didn’t fit in socially at his schools because of his high intellect. Since enrolling at Chattahoochee Tech, Anderson said her son “has been so happy."

“He’s able to be 12, but academically, he’s able to be challenged,” she said.

Once he graduates, Caleb said he wants to attend Georgia Tech and further his studies in aerospace engineering.

Claire Anderson said she hopes other people, particularly parents of Black children, reading about Caleb’s story will feel inspired to encourage their children to explore their gifts and passions. She said Black children are often not recognized by teachers, and many of them are classified as trouble makers or placed in special education classes when they are actually bored with the typical classroom routine.

She also said she hopes Caleb’s story will break the stereotype so that when “when they see a young black male, it’s not from a negative perspective.”

“A lot of times Caleb felt like he had to prove himself because it was rare," she said. "They didn’t see Black kids as gifted.”

In Other News