Meet Barrington Mitchell, Jr., in the exclusive CyberSpacers interview.
Like any ordinary kid his age, 13 year-old Barrington spends the early part of the day in public school, learning. But that’s where his similarity with the average student ends. Far from being ordinary, this Los Angeles-born whiz-kid is already a junior in high school, a bona fide genius who spends his afternoons in classes at college and teaching calculus to college students!
‘Barry’ as his friends and family calls him, says that he plans to be a neurosurgeon when he grows up. And to hear the friendly, well-spoken youngster talk, it’s easy to believe that this polite, confident teen could accomplish such a lofty goal and become the youngest brain surgeon on the planet.
“The first time I came here was in the summer of 2002,” Barry says, referring to LA’s Trade Technical College where most of the students he tutors are at least twice his age. Some are old enough to be his parents or even his grandparent.
“Back then, I was ten years old,” he smiles, recalling his ‘early years’ at the college, “I was just studying like everybody else. Then when I was about 11, some of my fellow students asked for my help, so I began tutoring them in chemistry and algebra.”
These days, Barry usually tutors 6 to 8 students at a time in advanced calculus and quadratic functions. They usually get together twice a week for a few hours, however: “I’m also on call for private sessions,” he says, “when they need me I’m there, and glad to be able to do it.”
“I love to use my God-given talents to help others so that they can pass their classes and have a better future,” he explains, “I look at it as me giving back to the community.”
And what does this young man, who sometimes sounds wise beyond his years, get from his adult students? He says: “I appreciate it when they come back and tell me they’ve passed their tests. That makes it worthwhile. I feel like I’ve done my job, like I’ve done my part, I’ve helped them in their lives.”
Barry enjoys teaching, but after his early high school graduation, he knows exactly what he wants to do. “I’m planning to enter USC or Harvard, and study Chemistry and Biology,” he tells CyberSpacers. “I’m really good in those subjects and, of course, in advanced math and calculus which I tutor here at LA Trade Tech.
“After that, I intend to go on to medical school and become a neurosurgeon. That’s what I really want to do for a long period of time in my life.”
While his mom, Ella, always encouraged her son’s interest in learning, and his 17 year-old sister, Decoda, works as his tutor’s aid -- Barry credits his first grade teacher with accelerating his phenomenal education.
“When I was 6, my teacher noticed that I was doing class work faster than any one else. So while the other kids were learning to spell 10 words at a time, she started giving me a 100.
“I guess I did OK,” he says modestly, “because not long after that I was doing long division and algebra.”
Now if you think this young man is ‘all work and no play’ you better think again. Barry loves to have a good time, he enjoys sports and values friends his own age.
“I have great friends,” he explains. “These are the people I want to know for the rest of my life. We just do what kids do, you know, hang out, go places, laugh a lot and do fun and sometimes silly stuff.”
While Barry’s computer is a valuable tool for studying, he also enjoys surfing and playing games. “My friends and I really enjoy playing video games,” he tells CyberSpacers. “And I have my own Play Station, which is great to have.”
You’d think a math genius would have a simple formula for happiness and success. And Barrington Mitchell, Jr., indeed, has that:
“Keep a good mind, and a good heart -- believe in your self and in God.”