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Former Classmates Are Revealing What Their High School's "Smart Kid" Is Up To Now, And It's Surprising

"He has a low-key job now and is reliable, if unremarkable. Some would say he never realized his potential, but he's content and doesn't really care what people say."

You don't need to go to your 10-year high school reunion to figure out what's going on with your former classmates these days — just log on to Facebook. I regularly get involved in other people's mess rather than clean up my own, so I was stoked when u/Desperate_Bluejay330 asked adults, "What happened to the smartest kid at your high school?" And honestly, I was not prepared.

1. "He was the valedictorian, and he had a perfect SAT score. He was kind, approachable, and funny. Everyone assumed he would want to go into law or become a doctor. Instead, he learned traditional dance and joined a well-respected dance troupe performing at cultural events and weddings. I was honored to have them perform at my wedding."

Students performing a Filipino cultural dance

2. "He was overweight in high school. When he left for college, he was studying physics. Couple of years later, I learned that he lost 175 pounds, became super into fitness, dropped out of college, and became a gym trainer."


3. "He lives in the same small village he was living in when we were in school, is married with kids, and apparently works in an office in the nearest town. He had aspirations of becoming a surgeon when we were in school. It didn't happen, but it sounds like he's living a good life regardless."


4. "I graduated in a class of 18 people. I was co-valedictorian. The other valedictorian is in jail for sexual assault of a minor. Me? I got college scholarships and left my crap town for an English degree and the promise of the Great American Novel. Instead I became a college adviser, married a college professor, had a great kid later in life, and then semiretired last year to be the sole cook at my son’s small private school. Today I made sour cream chicken enchiladas with a roasted tomatillo sauce from scratch. I'm truly living my best life."

Two teachers from "Abbott Elementary"

5. "The actual smartest person in our high school was not the valedictorian. He was frequently outside smoking pot in high school. He went on to become an early Simi Valley entrepreneur computer whiz, then sold his successful business. Now he is in consulting — the good kind, with young computer engineers. He helps lead these younger engineers to their next best steps. He's a great human being, funny as ever, and still not the typical valedictorian type."


6. "She went to college, got a master's degree, started medical school, and got pregnant and has been a stay-at-home mom for 20 years. No judgment, that's just what happened."

Family eats takeout dinner among open boxes in new home

7. "He was really smart but also was kind of an asshole. He got caught a couple of years back producing a ton of fentanyl at his aunt's or grandma's house."


8. "He was one of the most brilliant students our school had in decades, and that's a direct quote from my former principal. This guy wanted to be a chef. Cut to graduation — he's giving his valedictorian speech, which was a scathing tirade against all the teachers for not supporting him, pushing him not to follow his dreams, and trying to convince him to go to 'regular' college. He obviously ditched his preapproved speech, and it was brutal. At the time, he already had scholarships to several top culinary programs, and his family owned a successful restaurant. Today he is a happy chef."

Jeremy Allen White as a chef in "The Bear"

9. "The valedictorian at my colleague’s school decided to skip college, move to some island in the Caribbean, and sell fruit on the beach. Sometimes the smartest people are the ones who figure out what would make them happy, and they do what they can to get to the closest version of that."


10. "If by 'smart' you mean highest grades and test scores, she married Ted Cruz."

Colin Jost on "Saturday Night Live" with a photo of Ted Cruz with the caption "Vacation was 'obviously a mistake'"

11. "I had a graduating class of about 300 students in a very rural area, and have kept In moderately good contact with six. One of them was the smartest in my class — she was the only National Merit Scholar finalist we had. She went to law school as a mid-career change and had a pretty successful career, mostly in commercial real estate law. Pretty much every one of the smartest kids either killed themselves by drinking and driving or became a lawyer."


12. "They went on to study business and Chinese. Now they're a businessperson in China."


13. "He's very into science-based training and nutrition, and now a huge fitness YouTuber. He started go to the gym during the last few years of school but was still unassuming and tiny. I removed him as a Facebook friend shortly after, so I was pretty dumbfounded when I stumbled upon his channel years later. It's not hard to believe he was that successful, but I never expected to see him so jacked, or on YouTube. I lived in a relatively small, close-minded town. He was a popular jock, and the only one of his friends who actively opposed and stopped bullying."

Guy working out in gym with free weights

14. "She became a doctor, decided it wasn't for her, and then went to law school. Last time I checked, she's a barista now."


15. "He barely graduated due to giving up on public school, and joined the Army for one term to get out of our rural town. He struggled for 15-plus years to make ends meet. We're in our mid-40s now, and he is in the process of buying a house and is on track to retire at 55."

Man packing up moving boxes

16. "She didn't pass the admission exam for the career she wanted in university. Three years after she finally got in, she was expelled for cheating."


17. "I was friends with the guy who had the second-highest GPA in our class. He created a business renting out and managing office equipment. I lost touch with him, but I just looked up his business — it's still open, he's still the owner of it after 15 years, and according to Glassdoor, the business is worth between $5 million and $25 million."

Older businessperson with buildings in back

18. "I last saw our class valedictorian 40 years ago, when we were about 21 years old. He bragged about him and his friends breaking into a logging company's powder shack to steal the explosives. They planted them under an old logging road bridge, and he was disappointed that they failed to ignite. It's depressing to know that I'm stupider than he is."

"He was always described as 'scary smart.'"


19. "He had an offer to work on a nuclear submarine — I am not kidding. But he failed the drug test. The last person he smoked with? Me. I felt horrible."

People in a submarine in "The Life Aquatic"

20. "He took six years to finish college and graduated with a chemical dependency problem that took another six years for him to get over. He has a low-key job now and is reliable, if unremarkable. Some would say he never realized his potential, but he's content and doesn't really care what people say."

Shop owner turning on an "open" neon sign

What happened to the smartest kid at your high school? And if you were one of the smartest kids, what does your life look like now? Share the outcome (so far) in the comments.

Note: Some submissions have been edited for length and/or clarity.