Reality series “Child Genius” features Horry County nine-year-old

Reality series "Child Genius" features Horry County nine-year-old (Image 1)

MYRTLE BEACH (WBTW) – Spending summer, or part of it, away from his home near Myrtle Beach is nothing new for nine-year-old John Sumter.

The River Oaks Elementary School student spent part of recent summers taking classes at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. His achievements through that program helped him become one of the youngest members of the genius organization Mensa. 

This summer, John and his parents spent part of their time in production of Lifetime TV’s new reality show, Child Genius. The first episodes air starting Tuesday night.

“Once he got there, he clicked with so many kids,” said Traci Sumter, John’s mother. “When he would tell a joke, they got it, all of a sudden and really quickly, and they laughed about it. It was great to see him in his element.”

John’s intellect and achievements sometime make him feel isolated from other kids, he said.

“They just don’t see things the way I can see things,” he said. “They can only see what’s in the present. I can see what’s in the past, present, and what’s in the future.”

The format of the show is a competition, and part of the previews from Lifetime show each of the 20 contestants answering questions individually from a panel.  Much of the video in the previews showed John and other kids waiting backstage, preparing to go on.

“It was very stressful,” said Traci. She also said it was daunting for John to be one of the youngest kids at the competition. He was 8 years old at the time, and he was up against several 12-year-olds.

“It was kind of tough to compete against people that I made great allies with and good friendships,” John said.

“I think he sees there’s nothing he can’t do,” said his mother. “Hopefully, it gave him the confidence for the future.”

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