PHS senior passes Navy Nuclear Physics and Power Examination

Wednesday, September 17, 2003

A PHS senior achieved the unthinkable on when he passed the U.S. Navy Nuclear Physics and Power Exam during the summer.

Kevin Johnson, the 17-year-old son of Kerry and Tammy Johnson of Piggott, said he decided to take the exam after speaking with his older brother, Daniel. Kevin said his brother joined the Navy and talked to him about all the different areas a person can work in within that branch of the military. Daniel told Kevin that the nuclear field is the highest paying field a person can work in.

Kevin's recruiter is Petty Officer Second Class Michael Lemmons, who is a Piggott native and PHS alumnus.

Kevin said Lemmons encouraged him not to get discouraged while they were on the way to Memphis on June 12. Lemmons had never had any of his recruits pass the exam. Lemmons said, "I've been here about two years and had many, many people take that test. He's the first to pass."

The test lasted for two hours. Kevin said, "There was some basic math, but calculus was a big part of it." He added that there was also some trigonometry on the exam as well as physics. Johnson and Lemmons received his score on the same day.

Kevin said, "I was pretty excited when she told me I passed."

He said Lemmons congratulated him on the achievement and smiled as he added that Lemmons said he had just created a lot of paperwork for his recruiter by passing.

Lemmons recruits from 21 high schools. He praised the Piggott Schools and small schools in general. He said that people who think small schools aren't teaching the kids as well as bigger ones are wrong.

Lemmons said, "Kevin has got a bright future and unlimited opportunities ahead of him."

He added that Mr. Danny Self is a big part of the reason Kevin was able to pass the exam.

Mr. Self said that Kevin had taken every math course available at PHS by his junior year.

He said, "He's a fine student and we're very proud of him. We've got some more students following in his footsteps."

Kevin said his courses included College Algebra, Trigonometry, and College Calculus.

When asked what he would say to his fellow students who discount the importance of mathematics skills in the real world, Kevin replied, "Math is used pretty well in every job you have. I work in fast food right now and I use math everyday. It's not as high a level of math, but there's so much more job opportunities, when you can do the higher level math."

Kevin said he would give the following advice to anyone thinking about taking the Navy Nuclear Physics and Power Examination, "Study calculus and physics."

Kevin also has a younger brother, Kalon Johnson. He said his fiance, Michelle Golden, has helped him a lot through their times in school. He is the father of Hayden Johnson, who will be three-months-old on Sept. 25.

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