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11-year-old Black Physics Student Receives Full Scholarship to HBCU

Inventor and author Elijah Precciely, at 11 years old, is already thinking about legacy and what sports team he’ll buy after becoming a college graduate of Southern University.


The open door to this amazing opportunity started when his mom, Pamela Precciely, reached out to Dr. Diola Bagayoko, who is in the university’s physics department, because Elijah was already building inventions in the home and needed lab space. The professor then encouraged Elijah to sit in on his classes.

“I appreciate that the staff never turned him away with his questions,” his mother told The Advocate.

This is not the usual news we hear about Black boys. Instead of genius, we see repeated images of young Black men being assaulted and killed by police, racist messages in schools and disproportionate suspensions that do not draw a positive picture, nor do they show potential.

Elijah says his book, “Mission Christian God’s Got First,” teaches that if a person doesn’t know they are loved and can do great things, they won’t.

The Baton Rouge family first noticed Elijah’s exceptional abilities when he was an infant. At just 18 months his school encouraged his parents to move him to an advanced level. By three years old, he was asking his mom about the human anatomy and how taxes work, and by age five he had preached a sermon and been a guest on a local radio show (he now has a weekly segment). He has published a book and also has several patents.

“Find that child’s genius, what they like, and nurture that even if you have to seek outside help, then that’s what you do and that’s what we did,” Elijah’s dad, Stephen Precciely, told The Advocate.

Having taken classes in physics since the age of eight at Southern University, Elijah plans to study physics and mechanical engineering when he starts as a sophomore in the spring with a full ride.

Southern University President Ray Belton welcomed him and presented him by saying, “We are pleased to offer Elijah Precciely the J.S. Clark Presidential Scholar award. As a J.S. Clark Scholar, he will engage in research and other scholarly activities as part of the honors college.”

Watch Elijah’s entire acceptance speech here:

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