A typical high school student is 17 or 18 years old before walking across the stage to get a diploma, but for an 8-year-old boy, finishing high school took him less than two years.
Born in the coastal town and former royal resort of Ostend in 2009, Laurent Simons whose father is Belgian and mother Dutch has an IQ of 145. To put that number into perspective, an IQ of 130 and above is considered “gifted.”
A tailor-made lesson package was developed especially for him. That being said, Laurent graduated from elementary school and high school at a record-breaking rate. He received a certificate along with the 18-year-old high school graduates.
His father said his son had struggled when he was younger to play with other children and had not been particularly interested in toys. Laurent said his favourite subject was maths “because it’s so vast, there’s statistics, geometry, algebra”.
Laurent said he had considered becoming a surgeon and an astronaut but was now thinking about going into computers. But according to his father, they will give him their full support in whatever path he chooses to take.
“If he decided tomorrow to become a carpenter, that would not be a problem for us, as long as he is happy,” Laurent’s father said.
Simons said he’s now considering a career as an engineer, but he’ll have to make it through college first. After a two-month holiday from school, he will start university. He has already received offers from universities around the world, but Laurent prefers to study close to his friends.
The Belgian boy will join the list of other young proteges who entered university at a very young age. The list includes Michael Kearney, known as the youngest college graduate in history after earning his anthropology degree at 10, Jeremy Shuler who enrolled at Cornell University at age 12 in 2016, Sho Yano who earned his bachelor’s degree at Loyola University at age 12, and Alia Sabur who entered New York’s Stony Brook University at age 10.