May 18, 2017 : By Drew Menard
At 17, Greyson Beights was the youngest graduate at Liberty University’s 44th Commencement. Earning a Bachelor of Science in History through Liberty’s online education programs before many of his peers complete high school is only one of Beights’ accomplishments. He is already a published author and successful entrepreneur.
A LEGO fan since age 5, the Afton, Va., teen has spent much of his time looking for ways to turn the toy into learning opportunities for children and families. At age 14, he founded BrickUniverse, a large LEGO convention that has been held throughout the country, drawing thousands to each stop.
“I wanted to start an event that would inspire creativity, imagination, and ingenuity,” Beights said. “I never anticipated inspiring so many kids, but I’m honored by the impact BrickUniverse has had across the country. I love seeing the families building together and checking out the displays.”
Also at age 14, Beights published “Medieval LEGO,” which pairs short descriptions of historical events with fun LEGO illustrations. Scholars and prominent LEGO artists contributed to the book.
“LEGO is immensely popular and has widespread appeal,” Beights said. “Kids open (‘Medieval LEGO’) thinking they are reading a LEGO book with stories, but little do they realize that they are actually learning history. The feedback with readers, parents, and educators has been fantastic.”
The impetus for writing the book began with his passion for history education. “I read a report regarding America’s illiteracy in history and learning, which said, according to the National Assessment of Educational Progress, that 82 percent of our students are below proficient in history. LEGO seemed like a great way to get kids interested in history.”
Taking on challenges seems to be a part of Beights’ DNA. He took his first college course when he was 11 years old. When his mother took his sister for her entrance exam at Piedmont Virginia Community College, Beights tagged along and asked if he could take the exam as well. He ended up answering 98 out of 99 questions correctly. Shortly thereafter, Beights took a general history course — and went on to get an A.
“I had so much fun (in the first course) that I was eager to take more courses,” he said.
He continued to take college courses, in addition to being homeschooled, and transferred to Liberty in 2015 at age 15.
“I have loved every minute of my educational experience with Liberty,” he said, noting that his mother is an alumna. “The history department, flexibility, and overall curriculum brought me to Liberty. My faith and relationship with God means a lot to me, and it was great to be learning in an environment that feels the same. All of my professors were great and their passion for their subjects was contagious and inspired me.”
“First and foremost, my faith and relationship with God has helped me all along the journey,” Beights said. “There have been many early mornings and many long nights, and God has been there for me every step of the way.”
He said that his family, including an older sister and twin older brothers, have also been supportive, especially his mother who dedicated herself to homeschooling.
“She and my dad encouraged every crazy idea I have come up with, and I am incredibly thankful for their support and guidance.”
Accomplished as he may be, Beights has no intention of slowing down. He plans to continue managing BrickUniverse, write two more books, and to travel the world for about a year before starting graduate school.
When the topic of achieving so much at such a young age comes up, Beights merely shrugs.
“I never really think about how young I am,” he said. “It has never been a race for me. To me, age is just a number. That said, I definitely do not take my position for granted, which is why I try to inspire others to go out and accomplish their dreams and reach for the sky no matter their age.”