Add Event My Events Log In

Upcoming Events


    Print this page

    Our annual search to find the best and brightest turned up a champion ballroom dancer, an Earth crusader, a self-taught coder and an Einstein-in-the-making. One student’s work has already taken her to the White House. In other words, these Super Kids have a way of making the rest of us feel unremarkable.

    Interviews by Jenny Kiefer
    Photos by Jessica Ebelhar
    Illustration by Steve Bowman


    Age 9, third grade, Holy Trinity Parish

    Hampton wants to save Earth. He has run a recycling program in his neighborhood and empties the recycling bins at his school. As a second grader, he joined the student council — usually only open to sixth graders and older.

    What do you like about recycling?
    “I like it because it helps the environment, number one — too much garbage on Earth, we can’t live there. Number two, it gives whatever you recycle another life.”

    Do you have your own recycling program in your neighborhood?
    “Yes. We moved over the summer. (At my old house) you had an option whether you wanted to recycle or not. Four people got the fliers, three people participated. They’d leave it in a can, container or bag, and they’d leave it at the end of the street and I’d go take it and combine it with my other recycling.”

    Do you know what you want to do when you grow up?
    “I like to swim. I might be a swimmer. I like to do recycling — be a garbage/recycling/your yard waste guy.”

    What do you like to do outside school?
    “I love birdfeeders. I love birds. I have about six birdfeeders. I get a pinecone and put peanut butter on it and bird seed in it and hang it up. For the birdhouse we — me and a friend — gather sticks together and use mud for glue.”


    Age 13, eighth grade, Newburg Middle 

    Sinopa loves to volunteer. She has given her time to Public Radio, African Christian Fellowship, Lord’s Kitchen and her church, Evangel World Prayer Center, where she works in the daycare. She co-leads cultural dances at the Community of Nigerians in Kentucky. She has also participated in Junior Achievement and serves as an ambassador for her school.

    What’s your favorite subject?
    “Science. I like how there’s different formulas to find the exact same thing, and how it’s based on how humans have impacted the world.”

    What did you do for the Junior Achievement program?
    “Mom, which one was that? I do so many things. We would do things for academics, have meetings and stuff with our principal just to see how we can make our school a better place.”

    What do you want to be when you grow up?
    “A pediatrician. I’ve always been really good at helping children. I like to help people in general. When I was little, I would always try to perform fake surgeries on my friends and make fake diseases I could cure them of.”

    What inspires you?
    “My uncles, my aunties, everyone that I’ve grown up with. They work so hard for everything that they have and do better than what they could have had in different countries. I’ve always been inspired by them.”


    Age 6, first grade, Middletown Elementary

    Trey was only 18 months old when he started taking a creative-movement dance class. Now, he has a collection of medals and trophies for tap and ballet — some as tall as he is. He has won national titles in dancing and was the youngest ever competitor in the Ohio Star Ball.

    What do you like about dancing?
    “I like getting trophies.”

    Where do you keep your trophies?
    “I keep them on the shelf. When they’re too big, I have to put them on the floor or put them somewhere else. They are in the living room.”

    What do you like to do for fun?
    “Play Captain Underpants. Sometimes when I like to be him, I just do it. But I’m afraid I can’t be bald.”

    What do you want to be when you grow up?
    “A veterinarian.”

    What do you think makes someone smart?
    “By doing math and science.”


    Age 16, 11th grade, St. Francis

    Timothy’s motto is to approach every obstacle with no excuses. A varsity player for St. Francis, Timothy is one of the top tennis players in the state, winning first place in doubles in 2015 and 2016 and first place in singles in 2017. In addition to his tennis career, he also plays on St. Francis’ varsity basketball team.

    How did you get started with tennis and basketball?
    “My dad played basketball, my mom played basketball. I grew up watching my brother, so I just wanted to be like my brother. When I was six, my grandmother took me to Chickasaw Park to start tennis. It’s in the West End, down the street from Shawnee.”

    What inspires you?
    “My grandparents. My grandmother, even though she was going through sickness, she still kept her faith and was strong. Same thing with my other grandmother. They always call me up and check up on me. I try my best for them.”

    Do you know where you want to go to college?
    “Bellarmine. I do want to play, but if I don’t play, I still want to go there for the physical therapy program.”

    What is on your bucket list?
    “I want to travel the world. I want to go to Havana, Cuba.”


    Age 17, 12th grade, Presentation Academy

    Through Presentation Academy’s Senior Independent Program, Peyton is producing her own play, which means she’s doing everything but acting: writing a script, casting, directing, marketing, making costumes. She has performed with Presentation Academy, Derby Dinner Playhouse and the Rockettes. In the spare time she has, she volunteers with the Miracle Dancers.

    Tell us about the play you’re writing.
    “The last part of my junior year I started writing a mystery. The final version that I wrote to give to my English teacher to edit was over 9,000 words. It’s a two-act mystery and an all-female cast and an all-female crew, because it’s at Pres. It’s kind of like an all-girls Big Brother house — kind of like a game show. There’s a murder weapon in the house. It gets really dark.”

    You’re doing all the costumes, directing, production. How do you manage all your time with doing all that?
    “We have two hours during the school day, which is two periods, which is a long time, to work on it every day. I’m allowed to leave during the school day to shop for costumes or pick up printed scripts.”

    What was your favorite play that you’ve acted in?
    “Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella, and I did get to be Cinderella. It honestly changed my life. That sounds really, really cheesy, but it honestly did change my life because it helped me solidify the fact that that’s what I want to do for the rest of my life. I want to go into theater in college and I want to be on Broadway.”

    What do you think makes someone a good actor or actress?
    “I think being a well-rounded person. Having lots of experiences I think helps you act better for characters that’ve done the same. Really studying a role and really getting into it.”


    Age 17, 12th grade, DeSales High

    Adam taught himself seven coding languages and works as an engineer with the Student Technology Leadership Program, serving as the president of DeSales’ local chapter. He has created an award-winning website about using Scratch to teach students how to code.

    How did you teach yourself coding languages?
    “Several different languages. I really lost count at one point. Generally, when I was young, I just picked up a book and I taught myself code from there. I took an AP computer science class completely online. That brought it up full circle.”

    What was the hardest thing about teaching yourself to code?
    “It takes a lot of dedication. Computers are not the most cooperative things. You’re gonna blow stuff up, catch things on fire.”

    Do you make websites?
    “I do web development — small businesses.”

    What else do you do for fun?
    “I play paintball. That’s about it. Had a friend who wanted me to go one time. I ended up loving it. Just running around, shooting stuff.”

    How do you balance your time?
    “I don’t. School takes up a lot of my time. It’s really hard to balance your time.”

    What’s an item on your bucket list?
    “I would love to travel. I’ve never really been outside the country. I would love to go and see how other people live their lives.”


    Age 13, eighth grade, Noe Middle 

    Born with a green thumb, Simon loves cultivating his garden. He volunteers with Waterfront Botanical Gardens by helping with events, giving speeches and starring in promotional videos.

    Do you get nervous when you have to talk in front of people?
    “When it’s in front of a bunch of people, usually not, because they’re like, ‘Oh, he’s a kid.’ I try to make them laugh and be funny and comical.”

    What do you want to do when you grow up?
    “I want to be an adventurer to help the planet.”

    Do you have a garden?
    “I grow mostly shaded plants. I have this big Cornelian-cherry dogwood. It blooms bright yellow. I planted it when I was two. Just (mostly) decorative flowers and daisies.”

    What’s on your bucket list?
    “Stop global warming would be number one. Make everything more environmentally friendly, because we’re really bad at doing stuff to the earth. I want to go to the moon.”

    What’s one thing Louisville Magazine readers can easily do to help the environment?
    “Try really, really hard not to litter and not to destroy nature. Instead of destroying it, plant, and pick up litter. The Botanical Garden is always looking for more volunteers, so you could help them.”


    Age 15, 11th grade, Manual High

    You may see Anjali on the big screen soon — she’s being featured in a documentary about science fairs. She has competed in several fairs throughout Kentucky and beyond, including a qualifying entry for the International Science and Engineering Fair. She earned a perfect score on the ACT right after her freshman year of high school. On top of all of this, she started her own nonprofit, Empowered, which teaches minority women to work with technology.

    How did you accomplish a perfect score on the ACT?
    “I did study, definitely, but I wouldn’t go as far to say I studied a lot. I took the June ACT and I only started studying at the very end of May, right when school was ending, because I had some more time. I took a couple of practice tests at a facility called ERT. The premise is that if you take practice tests there, they can help you with the questions you miss, but I didn’t really miss many. It was pretty relaxed because it was the first time I was taking it.”

    Tell us about your science fair projects.
    “I built an arsenic sensor. It detects arsenic concentrations in drinking water. It’s supposed to be a really accessible device. Basically any layperson can use it. And it’s made for people in third-world countries to be able to detect how their groundwater sources are being affected by arsenic. With that project, I’ve had a lot of success. I went to the National Junior Sciences and Humanities Symposium. I got first place there and $10,000. I went to something called ISWEEP, which is an international fair in Houston. I won first there as well. I went to Intel ICEP. That’s the biggest international science fair in the world. It’s huge. I got fourth place in my category there. I’ve done a lot with that project, and I’m still working on it for next year and making it better.”


    Age 13, eighth grade, Christian Academy of Louisvill

    Jazmine Harry was one of 15 teenagers chosen to attend a summer institute with Microsoft called Council for Digital Good to develop social programs on risks and dangers. In addition to helping combat online bullying, Jazmine participates in debate club and marching band and volunteers at her church.

    What did you do at Microsoft?
    “Talked about cyberbullying and how you can prevent it. We met someone from a cyberbullying website who told us about the four things that influence us, which is tech companies, parents, teachers and government. We have to write a lot of manifestos. We have to learn teamwork through activities. Right now we’re all linking together to make one manifesto to show what we should and should not do online. The natural leaders are rising up, and I have not had time to rise up, but I am trying.”

    What interests you about technology?
    “I just want to help others learn about it and learn that they’re not alone when they get bullied. Although we’re all different and have different struggles, we can all unite together to make the world a better place.”

    Do you know what you want to do when you grow up?
    “I’ve been researching different careers, like video-game designing. I’ve also talked to people about being an eye doctor or a veterinarian. I don’t know at this point.”

    Do you have a favorite book?
    “My favorite book at the moment is probably Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry. It’s about equality for everyone, and I really liked it.”


    Age 17, 12th grade, Christian Academy of Louisville

    Samantha has played for the Under-17 USA women’s team, which competed in Austria. She also volunteers as part of the Norton Children’s Hospital Teen Board and was nationally recognized for her artwork by the Scholastic Art and Writing Competition.

    Do you travel a lot for field hockey?
    “I travel about ten hours most weekends to Pennsylvania. I’ve been to Vienna, Austria. This year I made the alternates for the Pan American Games in Guyana.”

    Do you have any future travel plans with your field hockey team?
    “Hopefully if we make the World Cup we’ll go to England.”

    Do you have a verbal commitment to U of L?
    “Yes, I verbally committed. I believe it will be in November that I will officially sign to U of L.”

    What subjects do you like in school?
    “Science is my favorite, definitely. I like learning about the person’s mind and how it accesses things, how people have different mannerisms and stuff like that.”

    What do you want to do for a career?
    “I was going to be a pediatric surgeon, but I realized I liked art a lot more, so now I want to be an art therapist in children’s hospitals.”


    Age 12, eighth grade, St. Francis

    Last spring, Nicolette traveled to Washington, D.C., to compete in a regional Chinese Bridge (language) competition after winning a competition at the state level. She placed third in the national competition by choreographing her own Chinese dance. Nicolette is also a competitive gymnast, competing in the Kentucky state meet, where she won first place in the uneven bars.

    How did you get started with Chinese Bridge?
    “I took Chinese. Last year in the seventh grade, a teacher came and she needed a host family. We volunteered and she came to live with us.”

    What was it like to be a host family?
    “She kind of became another member of our family. She would cook for us. She made the best Chinese food like fried rice.”

    What do you do in gymnastics?
    “This year I’m going to be a (level) seven. The higher the level, the harder the skills get.”

    What is your favorite subject in school?
    “Art and Chinese. I love creating things a lot. I like working with clay. I like watercolor a lot too.”

    What do you do for fun?
    “I do origami. I like sci-fi television a lot. I’ve actually watched that with my dad since I was a toddler. Star Trek, either Voyager or Enterprise, kind of the prequel to all of them.”

    What do you think makes someone smart?
    “That’s a hard one. Working hard and using the knowledge that you have in order to do something that’s fun or create something new or that helps somebody.”


    Age 10, fifth grade, Rangeland Elementary

    Erin has been a member of the Rangeland Art Club for four years. During this time, she has become an award-winning artist, submitting her artwork to the annual Derby Festival contest, among others. Images of two of her paintings ride around the city on the side of TARC buses.

    How did you get started with the Derby Festival art contest?
    “My teacher helped me submit it. I looked at some pictures on Google and some pictures that were specifically for the Derby Festival. My favorite was the steamboat. It was big and I used paint to make the background pretty.”

    Have you seen your art on the TARC bus?
    “I have two. It feels good.”

    What’s your favorite TV show?
    Steven Universe. I draw characters from the show.”

    What do you think makes someone smart?
    “I guess when they have good ideas. If they pay attention in class, too. If they’re fun. I guess that’s it.”


    Age 10, fifth grade, St. Matthews Elementary

    Griffin loves all things STEM and shares a birthday with Albert Einstein, whom he’s dressed up as for Halloween. He designed a conceptual car at age six that runs on water and hydrogen. In his classroom, he assists with technology and can diagnose problems like failing hard drives. Griffin is in the process of visiting all of NASA’s facilities — he has already been to five of them.

    Tell us about your Albert Einstein Halloween costume.
    “It was kind of disturbing, you might say. I think it was for Halloween. I’m very highly interested in science and STEM and stuff like that. I’m highly interested in building rockets. I’m planning on going to the jet-propulsion lab for my career.”

    What do you like about space?
    “I like the physics part. I would like to learn about more physics. I like the movement of the planet and the stars.”

    What do you like to do for fun?
    “I like to play games like Kerbal Space Program, where you built rockets and shoot them in space. I’ve gotten kind of far (into space). Because it’s a computer, it goes on infinitely.”

    Do you have any pets?
    “One of them is a cat and one of them is a rabbit. That probably doesn’t go together, considering the cat would eat the rabbit, so I have to make sure the cat stays out of the room with the rabbit in it. The cat’s name is Olive because she kind of looks like an olive. My sister found the rabbit at her campus and she took it back here. She named it Bespin because in Star Wars the cloud city is named that.”


    Age 17, 11th grade, Kentucky Country Day

    For his bar mitzvah, Jake created Louisville’s Got Talent, a talent show at the Jewish Community Center to raise money for CenterStage’s theater group, Acting Out. Jake has participated in National Honors Choir and Carnegie Mellon’s University Drama Precollege Program, acted in Fiddler on the Roof and Les Misérables and won the Thespian Club Founders Award.

    How did you begin to create Louisville’s Got Talent?
    “I knew I wanted to do something that had to do with the arts, and we came up with the idea of Louisville’s Got Talent. It’s amazing because it helps kids see theater who might not have the chance to go to theater anywhere else.”

    Is it like America’s Got Talent?
    “It’s a bit different. We have preliminary auditions in February, and like 100 people audition for that. Then we narrow it down to 20, and then in March we have the final audition.”

    What other hobbies do you have or what do you do for fun?
    “A lot of theater or music stuff. I bake occasionally.”

    What’s your favorite thing to bake?
    “This past summer — I watch Tasty videos from Facebook, you know? — I made macarons for the first time and they turned out really well.”

    What’s your after-school routine?
    “Depends on the day. Quick recall, piano lessons, guitar lessons, voice lessons.”


    Age 8, third grade, James E. Farmer Elementary

    Jordan is one of the top young basketball and baseball players in Kentucky. His team won the AAU basketball national championship in Charlotte, North Carolina.

    How did you get started with basketball?
    “I started when I was 2 at Fern Creek Optimist Club.”

    What was your favorite place to travel?
    “St. Louis. We got to go to the City Museum. My dad was scared to go on the bus hanging off the thing.”

    Tell us about some of your championships.
    “We went undefeated in North Carolina. We won three championships. We were down 16 to Team United, but we came back and won.”

    What position do you play?
    “Shooting guard. It means you’re a good shooter. I can beat my dad.”

    What do you like to do when you’re not playing basketball?
    “Play my PlayStation. My favorite game is NBA 2K. I like to build houses on Minecraft. My dad tried to build a mansion, but he put it on lava.”

    What’s your favorite TV show?
    Full House.”

    What do you want to do when you grow up?
    “I want to play in the NBA. If I play college football, I’m going to go to Alabama. If I play basketball, I’m going to go to Kentucky.”


    Age 17, 12th grade, Walden

    Arshi is a master of many things: She created an app related to contact lenses at the Governor’s School for Entrepreneurship, completed nearly 3,000 hours of volunteering around the world and has graduated with a mastery of Kathak, a type of Indian dance.

    Can you tell us about your dancing?
    “I’ve been an Indian classical dancer for around 12 years now. I’ve done a lot of volunteering with dance. I’ve taught at the West End School for boys. We teach them our curriculum. It was credit-based, so they would receive credit for it. And we have a recital at the end.”

    Where have you volunteered?
    “I’ve gone to India. I helped generate the funds for a surgical and trauma center on the outskirts of Mumbai. I did that one summer recently. It was really intense. I liked it a lot and I’ll be going back next summer to check on it.”

    What do you want to do when you get older?
    “I’m all over the place now. I originally wanted to be a doctor since I was 3. Then I looked into teaching because I’m a tutor. Now that whole business thing that I did, and I won that. Now I want to do that. So now I’m thinking about combining all three in one.”

    What inspires you?
    “Probably my grandparents. They’re the people who have raised me, and I talk to them every single day from India. I FaceTime them. They’re just a really big part of my life and they’ve taught me everything I know.”


    Age 13, eighth grade, Sacred Heart Model School

    Andy says that one morning he woke up and wanted to learn German — so he did. He now has some fluency in several languages: English, Afrikaans, German, Dutch and Russian. He’s attended the Concordia Language Villages Camp in Minnesota to build his knowledge of languages and is working on a service project that would pair native German speakers with high school students.

    Tell us about your school service project.
    “Mine is for German native speakers, preferably in homes where they can’t do things on their own, and German high school students from Manual. To try to get both of them to socialize for two 30-minute sessions. It not only improves the high school student’s German, but it gets the older people out of the house and socializing. Unfortunately, elderly people do spend too much time in the house watching TV instead of socializing. I think it’s a good thing for both sides.”

    How do you keep up with your fluency?
    “Every day I practice doing audio things. I just listen to it, because it’s not only fun but it keeps my fluency going. I try to have conversations with myself in my head, not only what I would say, but other people. Just in my head, not out loud. That’s how I do it. That’s just the most fun way to do it. I also read books as well.”

    What’s on your bucket list?
    “Probably to get into Manual right now. But moving to Germany and going to university there. That’s one of my main goals.”

    What do you want to do for a career?
    “I want to be a CFO, a financial director or a chartered accountant.”

    What’s your favorite food?
    “For snacks, probably gummy bears or banana chips. For dinner, I like German food. Just a coincidence.”


    Age 18, 12th grade, Southern High

    Though she’s a senior, this is only Amy’s second year of high school, having transferred from homeschooling. In that time, she’s taken numerous AP and dual-credit courses, participated in the Governor’s Scholar Program and won awards on her school’s academic team. She is also the president of the Key Club and served on Chick-fil-A’s Leadership Academy. With a passion for writing, she has published poetry and restarted her school’s newspaper.

    What do you think makes someone a good writer?
    “Their ability to take what they’ve experienced and put it into writing so that other people can feel what they’re going through and relate to what they’re going through.”

    What did you do with the National High School Poetry Competition?
    “I believe that was ninth grade. I was still being homeschooled. It’s lost now; I don’t have it anymore. It was about this girl who walked home from school one day and found that her mom had overdosed on pills. I sent that in. I didn’t get picked, but I was a finalist.”

    What do you do for fun?
    “I really enjoy reading. I want to publish one of my novels someday. I’ve never completed an entire novel, but I’ve completed a pretty long short story. It’s about eight pages long and it’s about a girl who was sexually abused. I read as much as I can. I love reading. I work on my writing. I also love hiking. And just hanging out with my friends.”

    Do you know what college you want to go to?
    “My top colleges right now are Berea College or Transylvania University or Bellarmine University. I’m also thinking of applying to Brown and Yale. It’s always been my dream to see what I can do.”

    What inspires you?
    “I guess failure and challenges inspire me. Every time I fail at something or if a challenge arises, I know I can do better. It’s like this mountain in front of me and I want to climb it and achieve everything I can.”


    Age 13, eighth grade, Thomas Jefferson Middle 

    After starting on her school’s chess team in sixth grade, Shannon quickly rose to first board, which is the top player. Within a year of being on the team, she was ranked as Kentucky’s No. 1 female player in middle and high school. She represented Kentucky at a national chess championship in Norfolk, Virginia.

    How did you get started with chess?
    “My dad taught me when I was five.”

    How do you practice chess?
    “I go with my coach and other teammates to food places and we play and practice. Then we go to tournaments twice a week.”

    Describe a chess tournament.
    “There’s a tournament director. He puts up the pairings, and you find your partner. And then you play them. (There’s a timer) to make sure you don’t play too long. If your opponent runs out of time, then they lose and you win.”

    What’s your favorite subject in school?
    “Math. I have algebra and I like that because it’s kind of challenging.”

    What do you want to be when you grow up?
    “An architect.”

    What are your study habits?
    “Sometimes I put it off and do it later.”


    Age 15, 11th grade, Kentucky Country Day

    In addition to maintaining a 4.55 GPA and scoring a perfect five on four AP tests, Edward spends time at a U of L immunology laboratory to study cancer cells. He’s one of the founders of STEMy, a program to encourage young people to get into STEM fields. He edits the group’s journal, Innovation, which publishes scientific studies from local high school students. To add to his already impressive resume, he has won numerous awards in math and science competitions.

    How do you manage your time?
    “I just have to make sure I stay on top of my homework every night. So when I get home I have to knock it all out and see if I have any time leftover to do other stuff.”

    Tell us about your research.
    “I’m researching how these chemical compounds from yeast cells can help the immune system fight cancer.”

    What hobbies do you have?
    “In my free time, I like to play basketball and travel. My favorite place was Switzerland. It was really nice and pretty. Plenty of mountains.”

    What is your dream job?
    “Being in health management, like running a health program. Or doing research at a major university.”

    What’s your favorite thing to play on the piano?
    “I like a lot of Elton John songs. I’m in to Elton John’s piano.”


    Age 10, fifth grade, King Elementary

    Armed with only marshmallows and toothpicks, Dazjai built an impressive bridge in her class last year. It was not only the strongest, but also the tallest. When she’s not engineering candy bridges, she dances for King Elementary’s dance team as well as for F3 Dance Team.

    How did you get started with dancing?
    “My mom was a dancer when she was little. I don’t know. It’s in my blood.”

    Who is your favorite dancer?

    Tell us about the bridge you built.
    “(Our teacher) told us to build a bridge with marshmallows and toothpicks. Me and my friend worked together and built the tallest one. My method to build it was triangles.”

    What type of engineer do you want to be when you grow up?
    “I want to build things. I want to build a bridge.”

    If you could do anything in the whole world, what would you do?
    “Make Hillary Clinton the president instead of Donald Trump.”


    Age 6, second grade, Montessori School of Louisville

    A lover of all things Lego, David won the top prize in the Russian School of Mathematics’ Math Is Fun prize by creating a project titled “Lego Patterns and Symmetry.” Next year he plans to enter the Math Kangaroo international competition. He also plays piano and loves to read.

    What do you want to be when you grow up?
    “A scientist in the jungle.”

    Can you explain your project called “Lego Patterns and Symmetry”?
    “It’s kind of about symmetry. I made the Legos round in a circle and put lines on them. Not on them, between them.”

    What do you like to do when you’re not in school?
    “Build Legos and watch movies. I’m going to have a next hobby and it’s going to be tomorrow.”

    Do you like to read a lot?
    “Do I read a lot? Yes. I’m reading Lord of the Rings right now.”

    What do you think makes someone smart?
    “Your brain.”


    Age 17, 12th grade, J. Graham Brown

    This past summer Jocelyn completed her three-year program at Phillips Academy Andover in Massachusetts, where she spent her time doing an intensive math and science curriculum. She shadows local doctors, volunteers at Norton Hospital and the Kentucky Science Center, and maintains a 4.1 GPA. On top of that, she won a speech contest with the Rotary International Club and is a senior class officer and president of the Black Student Union.

    Tell us about your sash.
    “I participated in a three-year math and science program. They choose from hundreds of students across the U.S. and from there only like 32 are chosen. Phillips Academy is a prestigious school with George (W. and H.W.) Bush and numerous other graduates being from there. The education I get there is like what I would get at Brown or MIT. During the summer at Andover, they have students from all over the world, every continent. Pretty much every country. It was neat making friends. They always know so much about America, which always shocks me. They have more cultural awareness than I do.”

    What do you do when you shadow doctors?
    “I’ve gotten the opportunity to get real experience with patients. I want to be a pediatric neurosurgeon.”

    What are your study habits?
    “I love music and poetry, so I do a lot of acronyms. Drawing pictures. Making songs. I remember things in chemistry by making beats.”

    What do your friends think about how you spend your summer sort of going to school?
    “Most of my friends are nerds, so they’re cool with it.”

    What’s on your bucket list?
    “Skydiving. That’s something that I’ve been wanting to do, even though I have a fear of heights.”


    Age 12, seventh grade, Newburg Middle 

    A lover of theater, Lucy has acted in Kentucky Shakespeare’s Theatre Camp for the past two summers, playing roles in Henry V and A Midsummer Night’s Dream. In 2014, she attended the Kids’ State Dinner at the White House after winning the Healthy Lunchtime Challenge for Kentucky. She has also been awarded a Bronze Award from the Girl Scouts and won third place in a contest by the Kentucky State Poetry Society.

    What do you do with Kentucky Shakespeare?
    “My first play was Henry V. I was King Henry V. This summer we did A Midsummer Night’s Dream, which is a lot of people’s favorite. I was Helena, one of the Athenians. We do a lot of exercises in the first few weeks, and then we start working on the script. The first two, we worked Star Wars into our theme. We would do part Shakespeare, and every now and then we’d throw in a lightsaber.”

    At the Frazier History Museum you got to perform for Jennifer Lawrence, whose foundation supports Kentucky Shakespeare. Did it make you nervous?
    “Yeah. We did a mash-up of a bunch of plays. We had Macbeth, Romeo and Juliet and all sorts of other plays.”

    How did you get interested in musical theater?
    “My mom sort of talked to me about old movies and musicals. My friend introduced me to my first Broadway obsession, which is the musical Hamilton. I’m not even going to get started on that. I’d be talking for four hours.”

    Tell us about the Healthy Lunchtime Challenge.
    “I made a dish that was an eggroll wrap with rice and pineapple and chicken, and all sorts of cool stuff, and some kale. I actually was born in Washington, D.C., and lived there for the first six years of my life, so (going to the Kids’ State Dinner) was like coming home. I got to meet Michelle Obama. She’s a really good person and a hugger. She hugs people a lot.”


    Age 13, eighth grade, Walden

    When he’s not at school, Nathan is busy building his Slime Universe, a small Etsy business he started from scratch. He not only makes his own slime to sell but also designs his logos, takes product photos, markets his slime and packages and ships orders. He says he’s working on moving away from Etsy to create his own website to develop his business.

    How do you make your slime?
    “I use different things like daiso clay, and I import that from Japan. I use stuff like Model Magic, which you can get from Walmart. I use different scents that I can get from Walmart or Amazon, and food coloring and stuff like that.”

    How do you choose names?
    “I really don’t know. I like space, so I was just like: Slime Universe. (For each color), I start by finding something I want to create it to look like. This one is Trix cereal, so I based the name off of that and then I created it to look like it.”

    What pets do you have?
    “Pet ducks. They are white Pekin, so they are the white ones with orange feet and bills. They’re really fluffy. I have a turtle. I haven’t named my turtle, but my ducks’ names are Daisy, Daffy and Doodle.”

    What subjects do you like in school?
    “I really like math. I think it’s just like the problem solving. I have to calculate the weights (for my E-shop), so that helps.”

    What do you want to be when you grow up?
    “I really don’t know right now, but probably own my own business.”

    This originally appeared in the October 2017 issue of Louisville Magazine. To subscribe to Louisville Magazineclick here. To find us on newsstands, click here.

    Share On: