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8 Unbelievably Awesome and Inspiring Teenagers

8 Unbelievably Awesome and Inspiring Teenagers

By Beth Mishler

While much of the news is of the Debbie Downer variety, we prefer stories that highlight truly amazing and inspirational people. Turns out, a ton of these awe-inspiring folk are teens! Seriously—these news-making kids deserve major kudos for their various killer endeavors—check em’ out!

1. So you think you read a lot? So does Neveah Mosher, a 13-year old girl from The Bronx, who is currently reading over 300 books a year!!! With the aim of educating herself to the fullest in order to be the first member of her family to attend college, Neveah doesn’t read to win any contests, awards, or even for bragging rights—she truly, simply, just wants to learn as much as she can. And that is awesome.

2. Musical genius time! Meet Kuha'o, a 15 year-old piano-playing prodigy, can play most songs after hearing them once or twice! He has been playing a mere three years, and has taught himself everything he knows, which is impressive, but not as impressive as the fact that he does all of this sans one very important sense: sight. Kuha’o has been blind since infancy, but he hasn’t let that get in the way of pursuing his dream—his Kickstarter campaign to produce his first CD was successful (it’s currently available on iTunes). Put simply, he’s the reason the word "amazing" was invented.

3. Cool adventure alert! We love the story of Jessica Watson, a 16-year old who took it upon herself to, you know, sail around the world. Solo—as in—all by her self! NBD. Equipped with major skills, a yacht, and very cool parents, Watson set off on her eventual 7-month voyage and sailed close to 23,000 nautical miles. She says she had major bouts of loneliness and boredom, and had plenty of harsh storms to deal with on the way, but she made it through with a smile on her face and a feeling of exhilaration when it was all over. We can imagine! No, literally, we can only imagine. None of us own yachts.

4. Fred Turner, 17, responded to the teasing his younger, much more ginger-hued little bro received in a way cool fashion—tired of people questioning whether or not they were really brothers due to their follicular differences, Turner built his very own DNA testing machine out of a VCR and other household items! Turner not only proved they were brothers, but also found the genetic mutation that causes red hair. He subsequently won the U.K. Young Engineer of the Year award and a spot at Oxford! Put THAT under "special skills" on your college app!

5. How would you feel if you got to college and your prof was your age? Well, that bar has already been crossed. Alia Sabur was 18 a few years back when she became the world’s youngest professor after graduating high school (summa cum laude) at the very ancient age of 14. She chose not to renew her teaching contract, but she still holds the Guinness Record for being the youngest person to ever teach at a university, and she is currently a prominent scientist.

6,7. Timothy Hwang and Minsoo Han founded Operation Fly when they were still in high school. What is Operation Fly, you ask? Only one of the coolest philanthropic organizations ever! Hwang and Minsoo started by using their tutoring fundage to feed and clothe the homeless in their area. They got some fellow tutors together and turned it into a major charitable organization—OF now has over 800 volunteers, has expanded to five cities, and is entirely student run. Talk about inspirational!

8. This girl’s for the birds! Olivia Bouler, a 13-year old aspiring ornithologist, decided to put her talents to good use after the horrific oil spill in the Gulf. She contacted the Audubon Society and offered to sell her drawings/art work, and donate her proceeds to help sick or injured birds. To date, she has earned over $200,000 in donations, written and illustrated her own book, and garnered a heck of a lot of publicity. Pretty impressive for someone nowhere near a driver’s license!

What incredible teen feats have YOU heard about or accomplished?

Tags: college, high school, teens, life, inspirational, community service

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About the Author
Beth Mishler

Beth Mishler is a writer, producer, and pop culture connoisseur who has a weakness for the Whedonverse and all things sci-fi. Originally from Madison, Wisconsin, Beth currently lives in The Plains, Ohio, where she freelances, makes documentaries, and watches a kazillion hours of TV per week while anxiously awaiting the release of George R.R. Martin's next novel.

Wanna contact a writer or editor? Email contribute@sparknotes.com.