Impressive Achievements By Under 18s

There are lots of restrictions for under 18s. However, being under 18 does not restrict you from being amazing!

In fact, people are often far more impressed when young people do amazing things than when older people do them. Read on to be inspired by these 8 young people and their impressive achievements.

1. Brian Zimmerman

In 1983, an 11-year-old Brian Zimmerman acquired a small amount of power through his work, he campaigned to be mayor of a small town in Texas called Crabb, which had a population of 225 at the time. Throughout his campaign he used slogans like “The mayor isn’t there to sit about, keeping his job, he’s there to do what’s best for his people.” His campaign won round 23 out of the 30 voters and he was successfully elected as mayor.

Zimmerman became famous nationwide and his story was adapted into a movie called The Lone Star Kid. Even though he was a mayor he didn’t enjoy the publicity and declined an appearance on Good Morning America. Sadly Brian Zimmerman passed away at the age of 24 from a heart attack.

2. Saugat Bista

Saugat Bista released his debut movie Love You Baba (Father) in December 2014, at just 7 years old, making him the youngest ever to direct a professionally made and distributed feature-length, movie according to Guinness World Records.

The synopsis explains that the movie is a drama about a single father raising his daughter. It seems unusual that a 7-year-old would be interested in the premise of this story let alone want to direct a 2-hour movie about it. But Saugat was obviously very passionate about documenting interesting stories from the get-go.

Directed by a child shot on 35mm film, which costs tens of thousands of dollars for a movie this length, the film was heavily promoted pre-release. This garnered a big pay off with a positive reception from critics who said the film gave them “weepy eyes”.

3. Thomas Gregory

The first person to swim the English channel was Captain Matthew Webb in 1875. Swimming the 21 mile length is a high profile way to prove athleticism and endurance, but there is also a big risk factor involved. Among the people who have attempted, six have died during the swim, even while accompanied by safety personnel.

In 1988 in the UK, Thomas Gregory left France to swim to Shakespeare beach at the age of 11 years old. Just two weeks prior a 20-year-old professional swimmer died during his attempt. After 11.75 hours Gregory became the youngest to swim the channel. He also beat the previous record holders time by around 3 hours and his age by almost 3 months. Upon arriving at Dover, the first thing he said was that he wanted to sleep for two days. We do not blame him.

4. Kieron Williamson

In 2009 a 7-year-old Williamson was selling his paintings at £900 a piece. By 2014 he was selling out art exhibitions in minutes ,with pieces costing nearer to £400,000 and he had over 10,000 followers of his newsletter.

His subjects include quaint, rustic rural settings featuring sail boats, geese or houses surrounded by trees changing season. They’re soft and look like the work of a veteran professional.

Williamson is a more accomplished painter than most adults. According to an interview he wants to buy land to raise cows on, just so he can paint them. Now that’s what we call dedication!

5. Willie Johnson

War is horrible there’s no doubt, but it’s even worse when children are involved. During the US Civil War it was standard procedure to use children as drummer boys. The courage these children showed earned many of them the Medal of Honour which is the highest distinction in American military.

The youngest of the group was 11-year-old Willie Johnson of the 3rd Vermont Division. During the 1862 Seven Days Battle in Virginia, his division were being pushed back by confederates. Johnson stayed calm and drummed the beat for a retreat, his division was the last to leave. President Abraham Lincoln personally gave him the Medal of Honour, he was one of 48 soldiers under the age of 18 who received it.

Thankfully child soldiers were banned in the 20th century. During that century the youngest to receive the honour was 17-year-old Jack Lucas who shielded others in the battle of Iwo Jima.

6. Victor de Leon III

In 2005, a 7-year-old Victor de Leon from New York became the youngest signed professional gamer; he attracted so much attention a documentary was made about him. That year he made enough money to pay for future college fees.

His family thought it was inevitable, since he had been playing video games since 2 years of age. When he was 4 years old, he participated in various tournaments and competitions and won them. Gaming success runs in his family. In 2005 in a Chicago tournament with over 550 contestants, he came second to his own uncle.

7. Jake Marcionette

Christopher Paolini’s finished the first of the book series Eragon when he was just 17 years old. Jake Marcionette hasn’t matched Paolini’s success or sales just yet, but he still has plenty of time.

In 2012, 12-year-old Jake decided to get an agent because he wanted to become a writer. By 2013 he had an agent and a publication deal with Penguin Young Readers group. Fast forward to 2014 and his first book is ready to be published. Just Jake is a comic, semi-autobiographical novel with illustrations. It made its way onto the New York Times best-seller list.

8. Marjorie Gestring

In 2008 controversy surrounded the Chinese gymnastics team over whether they were under too much pressure at too young an age, one of their team was just 14 years old! But back at the 1936 Berlin Olympics, the US team included a 13 years old, Marjorie Gestring.

Gestring was up to the task, her springboard diving show made her the youngest person to win an Olympic gold medal – this was just the beginning of her career which lasted for decades. She won the American Athletic Union eight times but was unable to qualify for the US Olympic team a second time.

Surprisingly, she wasn’t the youngest to win a medal at the 1936 Olympics. That honour goes to Inge Sorenson, a swimmer from Denmark who was only 12. However, she only won a bronze medal.

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Why Is Your Brain in Your Head?

We all know that our brain is in our head – that much is a given. But have you ever wondered why?

It all started about 550 million years ago, back when animals didn’t have brains or heads or anything really going for them. These were known as radial animals and were slightly two-dimensional looking (a bit like a star fish).

As animals evolved they began to have a new dimension to play with – a front and rear to the body (or a head and tail to you and me). These newly evolved animals were known as bilateral animals and all used the same set of genes to control how the body was organised in this new way. These genes are known as hox genes and clustered on the chromosome (a structure of all living cells, FYI) in the same order as the parts of the body they organised.

Bilateral animals continued to evolve with their senses and as such they began to develop eyes and noses. As these sense receptors became increasingly powerful so did the brains that processed this information. As a result of this they began to protect these brains by wrapping them in hardened skulls – and as we evolved from animals this form of protection remained.

The video below explains the evolution of the brain in much more detail and after watching it you’ll be blowing your science teachers own brains with your knowledge on the subject!

Bizarre and brilliant facts about the brain

• Your brain keeps developing until you’re in your late forties.

• Your brain uses up 20% of the oxygen and blood in your body.

• When you’re awake your brain produces enough electricity to power a small light bulb.

• A grand total of 60% of your brain is fat, and dieting could force your brain to eat itself.

• Long-term use of your mobile phone increases the risk of brain tumours.

• Half of your brain could be removed and there would be no apparent effect to your personality or memory.

(Facts from


What if I Fail?

“Failure is so important. We speak about success all the time. It is the ability to resist failure or use failure that often leads to greater success. I’ve met people who don’t want to try for fear of failing.” – J.K.Rowling


You probably read this and wonder what J.K.Rowling, the woman who wrote the infamously successful Harry Potter books, knows about failure? But did you know that 12 publishers rejected the first manuscript of Harry Potter before Bloomsbury finally picked it up? J.K. Rowling must have felt as though she had failed with each rejection. Chances are, those 12 publishers probably felt like failures after the Harry Potter series went on to sell 450 million copies worldwide!

It is becoming harder not to feel like a failure. Thanks to social media and the perfect images people publish of themselves, our expectations are raised of our daily lives and the way that we look. A friend’s Facebook status update, announcing the A* they received in the test, when you only just scraped a pass in the same one, could make you feel like a failure. However, there is usually someone comparing themselves to you in exactly the same way and feeling like a failure as a result. It is a vicious cycle.

For every success story there will be about a dozen stories of failed projects before it. The only way to truly fail is to let the fear of failure or the failure itself defeat you. Going back to the example of a school exam, if you consider your grade a failure, then in order to turn that fail into success you must pull yourself together and study even harder for the next exam. By learning from your own mistakes and putting in the effort you will reach your full potential.

In many cultures the act of failure is actually considered to be a gesture of politeness. By allowing yourself to be imperfect you are showing an act of courtesy to your fellow human beings. To be hugely successful would be considered rude as you would be inspiring feelings of envy and jealously in others. And who really wants to be responsible for that?

Think about some of your favourite celebrities and TV characters, who are the personalities you’re most drawn towards, is it Mr Burns in his mansion of accomplishments and lack of human empathy? Or do you prefer Homer Simpson who often fails but never gives up? When it comes to surrounding yourself with friends wouldn’t you rather be around people who know what it’s like to fail and will be able to help you when you do? By having failed you become more empathetic towards your friends when they fail.

Failure is nothing to be afraid of and it is important to think about the benefits we have mentioned rather than feeling defeated. Time to stop asking yourself ‘what if I fail?’ and start thinking ‘how will I deal with my failure?’