Child Genius is not your typical high-pressure, watery-eyed, leg-trembling game show. It’s still a competition, but one based on camaraderie and cooperative learning. These bright sparks are all exceptionally talented and have compelling stories behind what got them past the audition stage.
That said, two things they all have in common are enormous IQs and an insatiable hunger for knowledge...
AMY, 12, NSW
Amy is a typical, easygoing, 12-year-old kid… except she’s not. She’s a self-proclaimed perfectionist, excelling in mathematics and turning her nose up at art – it doesn’t make sense to her. In saying that, she’s also a keen writer and a published poet, so perhaps she has more of a flair for art than she gives herself credit for. Watch out, she’s also working on her black belt in taekwondo!
MAXWELL, 10, NSW
This quirky, “nutty professor”-type kid is Amy’s younger brother. Like Amy, he’s also passionate about taekwondo and enjoys writing poetry and short stories – some of which have been published. He tends to be exuberant when coming up with crazy ideas – a contrast to the definitive logic of his sister. Maxwell is competitive and will fight to the bitter end to win an argument, even if he’s wrong.
ELENOR, 12, NSW
A mathematics brainiac, Elenor has won impressive awards in various maths competitions, though her talents go beyond numbers. She progressed to the audition stage of The Great Australian Spelling Bee and is a gifted athlete, winning second place in state competitive rhythmic gymnastics. Elenor is kind and caring by nature but isn’t afraid to speak her mind.
NATHAN, 12, QLD
Nathan dominated the Stanford-Binet quantitative reasoning test, using his ability in logic and lateral thinking to score in the 99th percentile. His primary interest is in astronomy, where he has joined ranks as the youngest member of Brisbane’s Astronomical Society. Nathan also loves science and performs maths at a year 11 level despite only being in year eight. In his spare time, he enjoys smashing his Rubik’s Cube time records.
PETER, 11, NT
At age 11, Peter has already skipped three grades up to year nine. He has an empathetic heart and is passionate about helping others, hoping his keen interest in robotics and creative technologies will lead him into a medical robotics field. Peter is determined to prove that he can create meaningful bonds with his peers despite his younger age.
RHEDYN, 12, NSW
Enthusiastic and thirsty for knowledge, Rhedyn is open to embracing new challenges. She has a keen interest in a variety of fields, ranging from Greek mythology to cuisine. After being accepted into the Gifted and Talented Unit at St Ives North Public School, she has received specialist mentoring in architecture and philosophy – areas Rhedyn chose herself.
AARON, 12, NSW
Compassionate, confident and direct, Aaron is a Maths Olympiad beast, competing and receiving multiple awards along the way. He is always involving himself in school enrichment programs, and loves his backyard cricket, often competing with his brothers. Academics is truly where he shines, though.
CATHY, 8, NSW
While she is only eight years old, Cathy is mature and knowledgeable beyond her years. Remarkably creative, with a strong interest in arts, she was a finalist in the Young Archie 2017 awards. Her drawing of her younger brother has featured in the Art Gallery of NSW. These days she’s rehearsing for a musical called The Best of Broadway.
REGINA, 10, VIC
At only 18 months old, Regina had her IQ tested, ultimately leading to her admittance to Mensa at age two. Considered a quiet achiever, Regina has an outstanding passion for school, favouring maths and science. Her interests don’t stop there – she’s an avid field hockey player, a Girl Guide and enjoys playing both piano and saxophone.
JAMES, 7, QLD
The youngest of the bunch, James is highly intelligent and extraordinarily gifted in the arts. He enjoys puzzle-solving and has an amazing memory. He can play the piano by ear and his singing is almost pitch-perfect. James has attended theatre school and has a secret passion for Irish dancing.
AIDEN, 8, NSW
An exceptionally talented chess player, Aiden is cheeky by nature. When he isn’t dominating the knight-and-rook scene – he’s ranked number one in the under-eight age group in NSW – he is challenging himself with additional homework. Aiden loves to be in the spotlight and thrives on the competition.
ANDREW, 11, WA
A future superstar in the IT world, Andrew is a self-taught programmer who has attended Coding Club. Sporting a confident and bubbly personality, he blasted through the 2016 Australia Mathematics Competition, ranking in the top two per cent. Maths aside, he is also exceptional in spelling and creative writing and has a topnotch memory.
ASHANYA, 11, NSW
Fiercely independent with a friendly and humble disposition, Ashanya is genuine in her approach to life and has a strong ability in thinking outside the box. Her strengths lie in being able to logically analyse complex issues and equations, particularly excelling in mental arithmetic. Ashanya has strong academic achievements while also enjoying gymnastics and netball.
MACKENZIE, 12, VIC
Described as an “all-rounder kid”, Mackenzie is a high achiever and self-proclaimed bookworm. After participating in an Academic Scholarship exam through Acer, she was noted for ranking first among 100 peers as well as her excellence in the English and comprehension component – receiving the highest marks the school had seen. Mackenzie also excels in snow sports, running, dance and violin.
ADAM, 12, NSW
As a lover of space and astronomy, Adam aspires to either become an astronaut or be employed by NASA. He’s a self-motivated learner and a self-proclaimed "elephant" due to his exceptional memory. His logical line of thinking presents a simple view on what’s right and wrong, providing an empathetic moral compass. Adam also enjoys reading well beyond his age bracket.
ARIELLE, 12, NSW
Confident and curious by nature, Arielle has a voracious appetite for reading. Her determined and driven personality goes hand-in-hand with her ability to thrive in challenging environments. Her verbal communication skills are phenomenal, her maths is strong and she’s got a musical bent, too – Arielle is a passionate pianist as well as an enthusiastic singer-songwriter.
AYDEN, 11, NSW
Confident and outgoing, Ayden has been coding for more than three years and has just finished building his own operating system. This pint-sized globetrotter has been to more than 12 countries – including 15 trips to Athens alone – but his favourite pastime is learning the tricks of the trade from his business-minded parents.
SUMEDH, 12, NSW
Kind and humble by nature, Sumedh can be quiet until he reaches his comfort zone. He has an equal thirst for knowledge and passion for sport, constantly challenging himself to reach new heights. Sumedh has a keen interest in science and astronomy and has won awards in tennis. Off the court, he competed in the 2016 and 2017 Maths Olympiad, ranking as a top 10 per cent achiever.
MAHNOOR, 11, VIC
At age 11, Mahnoor has developed a love for languages. She’s already speaking English and Urdu and shows no signs of slowing down as she is currently conquering Japanese. Bubbly, sweet and courageous, Mahnoor’s favourite subjects are reading and maths – which have allowed her to prosper in the NAPLAN exams.
A new six-part SBS series Child Genius hosted by Dr Susan Carland follows the lives of Australia’s brightest children and their families and will see them testing their abilities in maths, general knowledge, memory and language.
The quiz show will be broadcast over two weeks starting November 12. Episodes will be aired Monday to Wednesday at 7.30pm.
After they air, episodes will stream at SBS On Demand: