D.C. BOUND

Central High freshman invited to White House to meet president

2010-10-13T17:27:00Z 2011-01-24T07:53:57Z Central High freshman invited to White House to meet presidentROB ROGERS Of The Gazette Staff The Billings Gazette
October 13, 2010 5:27 pm  • 

Mikayla Nelson is successful partly because she shows up.

“She shows up and she keeps showing up and putting in the time,” said Will James Middle School instructor Pat Kenney, who was Nelson’s science teacher while she was there.

On Sunday, Nelson, now a freshman at Central High, will show up again, this time to the White House where she’ll meet President Barack Obama.

She found out Wednesday morning.

“I cried,” she said, smiling. “It really hasn’t set in.”

The trip is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy, which hosts the National Science Bowl each spring in Washington, D.C. Nelson has attended twice.

As a science student, Nelson started drawing attention early. In sixth grade, she built a 12-inch Popsicle stick bridge that held 606.5 pounds, still the standing record at Will James. It probably could have held more, but the judges ran out of weights.

Last year she was team captain of the Will James Middle School squad that competed in the National Science Bowl. She’s also comfortably talked mechanical engineering with Frank Borman, the first man to circle the moon, and she designed her own super-light mini race car, something else that won her and her peers attention at the National Science Bowl in April.

“The car got people talking,” Kenney said.

And it got their team interviewed during the competition on the Discovery Channel.

When Nelson finished at Will James, she was the recipient of the Principal’s Leadership Award.

She’s also driven. Despite having not nearly enough money for tuition, she decided to attend Central High.

She worked three jobs during the summer and currently works at Central Hobby in Billings. When others found out she wanted to attend Central, a number of community members helped with donations and gifts and the school — like it does with other lower-income students — gives her discounted tuition.

 

Contact Rob Rogers at rrogers@billingsgazette.com or 657-1231.

Copyright 2015 The Billings Gazette. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

More from the Gazette

Forums to gather input on SD2 needs

January 14, 2015 8:30 pmLoading…
Billings second-grader eager to head to Disney World

Billings second-grader eager to head to Disney World

January 14, 2015 3:30 pmLoading…
SD2 board chair Halter says he won't seek re-election

SD2 board chair Halter says he won't seek re-election

January 13, 2015 7:15 pm Photos

Photos

Loading…
UPDATE: Afternoon school buses to run normal routes

UPDATE: Afternoon school buses to run normal routes

January 08, 2015 4:42 pmLoading…
As West End grows, so have private, outlying schools

As West End grows, so have private, outlying schools

January 04, 2015 6:00 am Photos

Photos

Loading…
Shepherd students explore career possibilities

Shepherd students explore career possibilities

December 19, 2014 3:01 pm Photos

Photos

Loading…

Follow The Billings Gazette

Popular Stories

Get weekly ads via e-mail

Deals & Offers

Featured Businesses