Child phenoms come along every few years and dazzle us with their youthful brilliance. A young Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart wrote musical compositions when he was a mere five years old. Thomas Alva Edison’s legend begins with his taking apart of his father’s watch, then reassembling it to good working order after his annoyed mother found him tinkering.
In the state of Washington, a young, 10-year-old Courtney Oliver has acquired her college degree. It took her a mere eight months. Now she is an assistant veterinarian at South Bay Veterinary Hospital in Olympia, where she volunteers her services one day a week. Since she is so young, her mother must accompany her when she performs surgery on an animal, according to state law. Her mentor, Dr. Michelle Shoemaker, maintains that the 10-year-old assistant vet is a constant marvel and that she and the staff constantly quiz Courtney, amazed at her broad range of knowledge.
Oliver said that she decided to become a vet when she noticed that she had so many pets and that she loved taking care of them.
Courtney Oliver joins a long list of child phenoms including the aforementioned Edison and Mozart.
Many of the child phenoms that are brought to the public’s attention are acting, sporting, and musical prodigies. They are more widely known than young mathematical, business, and scientific geniuses simply due to their mass appeal – and, sometimes, good marketing skills of agents.
Actors like Dakota Fanning, Christina Ricci, and Joel Haley Osment, all child actors of considerable talent, have literally grown up before our eyes through Hollywood movies. Their careers look to be as bright today as they were when they were they began over a decade ago.
The stories of golf’s Tiger Woods and his skill as a youngster have followed him into adulthood and embellish the tale of his multiple Masters championships. Lebron James has performed admirably for the National Basketball Association’s Cleveland Cavaliers since his teenage debut, leading the Cavaliers to the NBA Finals last year in his fourth season.
Musician prodigies like Mozart, who composed over 600 works in his short life, are touted at extremely young ages. Steve Winwood, a 15-year-old musical prodigy, would play keyboards for Spencer Davis Group, the progressive rock band Traffic, alongside guitarist Eric Clapton in Blind Faith, and then record several hit solo albums, charting several chart-topping singles along the way. The autodidactic artist known as Vangelis began composing at the age of five and would go on to win the Academy Award for his score for “Chariots of Fire.”
Another such person is now studying at Juilliard’s School in New York. Jay Greenberg is 12 years old, who was profiled on CBS’ “60 Minutes,” has already composed five full symphonies, and actually conducted the New Haven (Connecticut) Symphony for his commissioned composition, “The Storm.” He looks to have an amazing career ahead of him.
Keith Eldridge, “Meet the 10-year-old who is already a vet assistant,” KOMOtv.com
Stanley Sadie, “Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,” w3-rz.berlin.mpg.de
“Thomas Edison Biography,” Biography.com
“Tiger Woods Biography,” Biography.com
“Lebron James,” JockBio.com
Scott Pelly, “Prodigy, 12, Compared To Mozart,” CBSNews.com
“Steve Winwood,” StarPulse.com