19 Things People Accomplished When They Were Teenagers

List Rules

Vote up the teenagers you can't believe achieved such greatness before adulthood.

Ah, the teenage years! It's a time when most of us stressed over prom dates or finding the right acne medication. But not the famous teens on this list! As an adult, you probably never thought you'd have teenage role models. But think again, as these impressive young overachievers accomplished things most adults don't even dream about!   

When you were between 13 and 19, your biggest feats were probably making honor roll or winning a basketball game. Maybe you got into the college of your dreams or received a scholarship for playing the trombone like a boss. But the fearless and famous teen leaders on this list will blow your mind with their ingenuity and relentless drive.

From winning the Nobel Prize to ruling nations to sailing around the world to selling an app for $30 million, these teens didn't let their age stop them from achieving their dreams. Who needs to worry about getting a learner's permit to drive when you're busy changing the course of world history? Vote up the teenage mutant ninja rebels you're most impressed by!


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    628 VOTES

    Jordan Romero Climbed Mount Everest At 13

    In May 2001, Temba Tsheri, a 16-year-old Sherpa from Nepal, became the youngest person to climb Mt. Everest, followed in May 2003 by another Nepalese citizen, Ming Kipa, who was 15 at the time. 

    In 2010 - coincidentally also in the month of May - American Jordan Romero became the record holder at just 13 years old. The California native also became the youngest climber to scale all of the “Seven Summits” at age 15 in 2011 - the tallest mountain on each of the seven continents. Romero remains the youngest Everest climber to this day.

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    742 VOTES

    Louis Braille Was 15 When He Invented His Eponymous Reading System

    Louis Braille Was 15 When He Invented His Eponymous Reading System
    Photo: Mariaelizabeth124 / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 4.0

    Louis Braille, who was born in France in January 1809, lost his eyesight as a young child. At the age of 15, he invented the Braille system of reading (and later writing) based on a battlefield code a soldier had told him about. He published his first book on the system at 20

    In the years that followed, he added mathematical and musical symbols to Braille.

  • In 2014, Malala Yousafzai was 17 when she became the youngest winner of the Nobel Peace Prize. Past recipients include the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and Mother Teresa. 

    Her activism started much earlier, however; at age 11, she began fighting in her native Pakistan for girls' rights to education. After recovering from a Taliban assassination attempt in October 2012, in which she sustained a brain injury, the 15-year-old became a leading advocate for women's rights worldwide.

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    634 VOTES

    Laura Dekker Sailed Around The World Solo At 14

    Laura Dekker Sailed Around The World Solo At 14
    Photo: Savyasachi / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0

    She wanted to circumnavigate the globe at 13, but the Dutch government shut her down. In August 2010, when she was 14, Laura Dekker (a Dutch citizen born in New Zealand) embarked on her dream of sailing around the world solo. 

    The journey aboard Guppy, her two-masted ketch sailboat, took two years and covered approximately 27,000 miles. She documented her voyage in the documentary Maidentrip (2013). 

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    525 VOTES

    By Age 17, Balamurali Ambati Was A Doctor

    By Age 17, Balamurali Ambati Was A Doctor
    Photo: Yugeshp / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0

    Balamurali Ambati graduated from Mount Sinai's School of Medicine when he was just 17, becoming the world's youngest physician. 

    He is currently a research professor at the University of Oregon and works as an ophthalmic surgeon.

  • Soccer Great Pelé Was 17 When He Won The World Cup
    Photo: AFP / SCANPIX / Wikimedia Commons / Public domain

    In 1958, Brazilian soccer player Edson Arantes do Nascimento - better known as Pelé - was 17 when he scored his first World Cup goal against Wales, becoming the youngest-ever World Cup goal-scorer. 

    He was also the youngest person to play in a World Cup final match, in which he was victorious.