By Robert Stitt
In the Unites States black males are twice as likely to be held back in elementary school as white males, three times as likely to be suspended from school, and only half as likely to graduate from college. Good thing Stephen R. Stafford II didn’t listen to all of those negative statistics.
Stafford, who is from Lithonia, Georgia, started his education playing school with his older sister when he was only 2 years old. Now 17, he is set to graduate college with a triple major and could complete medical school by the time he turns 22.
Many of the horror stories we hear about the African American achievement gap, particularly for black males, is related to public schools. Stafford’s mother was not about to take that chance and homeschooled him. By the time he was 11, his mother found that he was too smart for her to teach, even though she was quite intelligent. She had him audit Algebra II at Morehouse College in Atlanta. The next year he aced precalculus and Morehouse College allowed him to officially enroll.
Though he will graduate this year with a triple major in pre-med, mathematics and computer science, he doesn’t see it as anything special. In 2010, he was quoted as saying, “I didn’t know what the big deal was about…I just knew it was the next step in my education–and I’m gonna do what my mother tells me to do.” Now those are words of wisdom worthy of a young man who has just been named one of the “World’s 50 Smartest Teenagers.”
After graduation, Stafford will attend Morehouse’s School of Medicine and one day specialize in obstetrics and fertility. The classically trained pianist says, ““I’m just like any other kid. I just learn very, very quickly.”
While not every child can turn out like Stafford, we have to wonder just how many more great achievers there would be if they were given the same educational opportunities. Granted, not every parent has the ability to home-school their children but it is amazing what can happen when they do.