12-Year-Old Senior, Randolph-Macon College
Monday, Jan. 14, 2002
Greg Smith finished high school in less than two years, graduating with an A-plus average. A television crew from "60 Minutes" filmed his speech to the graduating class, and he lost a baby tooth onstage. Four years later, as he prepares to finish his coursework at Randolph-Macon College, the boy has maintained his academic zeal while using his celebrity to campaign for peace around the world.
Since starting college, Greg has met Nobel laureates and has discussed current events with world leaders. His simple appeal for nonviolence and human rights for children has evolved International Youth Advocates, with young representatives around the world speaking out on behalf of the world's innocents. (Read the article.)
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Chicago,IL: As a parent of a 7-year-old with 200 IQ, what advice would you give to our family? What would you say to him?
Greg Smith: Learning is such an exciting adventure that can be shared by the entire family. My hope is that you will enjoy your child's potential and encourage him/her to reach his/her dreams and to have fun while doing it.
Reston, Va.: Greg,
Who is the world leader (past or present) that you most admire and disrespect? Why?
Greg Smith: My most admired people from the past are Jesus, Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King Junior since they not only stressed the importance of non-violence, but they also gave hope to the world that someday, a peaceful world is possible. Today, I believe that President Bush and Prime Minister Blair are leading our world with inspiration and courage. Their words illuminate the thoughts and hopes of a free world that is filled with compassion and justice for all. A true leader is one that I can't disrespect; therefore, so-called leaders such as Osama Bin Laden are not world leaders; instead, they are just world criminals that need to be brought to justice.
Washington, D.C.: How would you characterize your intellect?
Greg Smith: I believe all people's intellects have limitless potential if given the proper motivation and opportunity. It is up to us to learn and understand the intellectual creativity of us all. I was fortunate enough that my parents sought to open the doors so that I could reach my full potential.
Annandale, VA: Greg,
What do you like to do for fun, when not doing schoolwork?
Greg Smith: When I am not studying, I enjoy many different sports, especially basketball and football. I like to run in 5K races and I love to hike mountains. I like to watch TV, especially the Disney Channel, watch movies and play computer games. I enjoy playing games with my family and friends and taking long bike rides through the country
Bethesda: Your efforts to make this a better world are to be applauded and followed by young and old alike. I didn't see any mention in the article of any type of social relationships or friendships with anyone- kids or adults. Do you have these relationships?
Greg Smith: Yes, I have many friends with whom I enjoy a wide variety of activities. However, the purpose of telling my story in the media is not to solely spotlight my personal life and friendships, but to discuss and bring attention to all of the children in the world that need our help. The horrific conditions that many children endure must be changed. Will You Help Us?
Reston, VA: Hi Greg,
I'm curious to know why is it important for you to get 3 PhD's when it seems that with your mind, you could do the research, studying, etc. on your own and use that time in a better way.
I'm also wondering what concrete steps you plan to take to further your mission of peace and advocating for children. What are practical things others can do?
Greg Smith: I think it is important to remember that I am only 12 years old and it will be a number of years until I can legally pursue the careers of my choice. My goal is to acquire a broad based education fully preparing me to make a positive contribution to society.
Centreville VA: What would you suggest that the average person do in their daily lives to improve the world ?
Greg Smith: I have a saying:
Life is all about choices. We have the power to change our world by our choices. We must encourage those around us to live a life of moral choices. One by one, the change begins within each of us.
Silver Spring: Thanks for providing such an interesting look at your life, and for sharing your time here. It sounds as though you and your parents are dealing well with the challenges life has given you, which is all most of us can hope to say.
Are you planning to stay with one school for your graduate work, the better to pursue several degrees at once, or to look for the best school for each subject?
Greg Smith: I am planning to attend several different graduate schools so I can diversify my experiences and understanding and benefit from the expertise of the most elite in the fields of my academic endeavors.
Charlottesville, VA: As the parent of a 9-year-old with an IQ of 185 . . . I'm wondering, what (if anything) would you have changed about your childhood to this point? Do you have any regrets about your rapid acceleration through school?
Greg Smith: No I don't have any regrets about my academic journey. I wake up every morning ready to take on the challenges of the day. I am grateful for the opportunities that I have been afforded and will do all that I can to live up to my responsibilities
Fairfax, Va.: Hi Greg,
What are your thoughts on America's "war on terrorism," and the situation in Afghanistan?
What do you think of our country's efforts so far to help the children in Afghanistan?
Greg Smith: I believe that in such a horrific time in our nation's history, we must stand up in support of our President, military and political leaders who are doing all that they can to make sure that our country is safe and remains the largest beacon of freedom in the world. Surely, we all agree that terrorists must be apprehended and brought before a court of law and all of their criminal networks must be disbanded. If we do not unite in this mission and accomplish it, the mission to protect our children will be a mission in vain. In order for a peaceful just world to exist, there must be law-abiding citizens. Without laws, there will be chaos, with chaos there is injustice, with injustice there is terrorism, and with terrorism there will be no peace. I have pledged my life to work for peace.
washingtonpost.com: Greg, thanks for joining us today. What final thoughts would you like to share with our readers?
Greg Smith: Thank you for giving me the opportunity to participate in this online discussion. I am sorry that I did not have time to respond to all of the questions. I hope you will visit my web-site www.gregoryrsmith.com and write to me and see how we can work together to help the children of our world.
That wraps up today's show. Thanks to everyone who joined the discussion.
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