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Cody Johnson is our Einstein

The New Einstein: In 1951, Albert Einstein posed for a photo with his tongue out because he supposedly got tired of smiling for photos. here, Johnson mimics that photo. Photo by Justine Seligson ’15.

From playing competitive Yu-Gi-Oh in first grade, to completing AP Calculus AB in one weekend as a freshmen, battling to be on top has always been a part of the nature of Cody Johnson ’15.

He helped Einstein’s nephew research HIV and seized the position as president of the math team. He has completed five APs, is currently taking 13 and plans to take eight next year so that he will graduate next year with a total of 26 AP classes.

A typical Wednesday morning for Johnson begins at 7:30 a.m. when he learns about the partial pressures of gases in AP Chem. He ends the day learning about elasticity in AP Economics. Johnson immediately starts his homework after school. After that, Johnson does math.

He is currently training for the Worldwide Online Olympiad Training (WOOT), which means he is learning how to solve linear recurrence relations. At 9:30 he goes to sleep.

“It’s a pretty fun day,” Johnson said.

Recently, Johnson and several people from around the world created “Proofathon:” a proof-based math contest.

“The inaugural [Proofathon] competition is on October 26 and 27. And it’s already pretty famous in the math world,” Johnson said.

“He’s very witty. He thinks really quickly and is able to come up with something funny with good timing,” Nick Massoud ’15 said.

Johnson has had a head start on college since his sophomore year when he took Discrete Mathematics at Fairfield University. This year he is taking Differential Equations at Norwalk Community College. Johnson plans to be either a businessman, own a company or create his own invention. If all fails, Johnson’s back-up plan is to work at Google as a computer scientist  or work for the National Security Agency.

“I just really aspire to go to MIT, and I know that top-notch grades are essential in this process. I simply won’t allow myself to get bad grades,” said Johnson. “I recognize that getting in is a challenge, and challenging myself is what drives me to be who I am.”

Along with his other talents, Johnson played guitar for the punk band “The Lazy Rivers.” He is now writing a fusion rock solo album called “Class of the Class,” based on his observations of society and punk bands he has seen in concert.

Johnson’s work ethic comes down to, “Competition, motivation, and perfectionism. It’s enabled me to become good at many of my talents,” he said.

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Amina Abdul-Kareem, Staff Writer
The brutal capture and murder of James Foley shook America, but it has not dissuaded journalists or budding activists from the concept of traveling to unstable countries, especially not Amina Abdul-Kareem. “Danger excites me,” she puts simply, “I think the best reporting can be done when you’re actually at the scene yourself.”  Even at the age of ten, Amina ignored danger to find out if a rumor of cannibalism around her estate in Kenya was really true.  “My uncle told us we weren’t allowed to play outside, but me being me, I snuck out and found out what was really happening for myself.” Amina, a daring and curious senior at Staples High School, was born in Dubai and moved to America when she was a year old.  Even though she had family from many different parts of the world in addition to Kenya, Amina did not always feel very connected to her ethnicity “Growing up, I kinda felt lost, I didn’t have any connection to my Somali roots.”  On the pursuit of finding herself, Amina has taken the Staples African Studies class and dedicated herself to fully appreciating her culture. In an effort to do exactly that, next summer, Amina and her cousin will be traveling around the Horn of Africa to Somalia, Ethiopia and Kenya to fully immerse themselves in their African backgrounds.  “We’re both in the middle of an identity crisis,” she says of her and her cousin, “that’s what we call it.” Amina may be in the middle of a cultural “crisis”, but she is very confident in her future career path.  “I want to pursue a job in the medical field so I can go back to Somalia and help the people who are suffering from famine and poverty.”  A very laudable ambition; Amina is set on getting her medical degree in nursing after graduating from Staples in 2015. Somalia is one of the most dangerous places in the world, but Amina’s passion for helping others is stronger than the fear of risking her life.  The real threat of being kidnapped in unstable third world countries does not cause Amina to falter, even considering the circumstances of Tom Foley’s demise.  As Veronica Roth might say, fear doesn’t shut Amina down; it wakes her up.

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