JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) — Nine-year-old John-Carlos Johnson from St. Mary’s School has been nominated by his teacher to participate in the National Youth Leadership Forum (NYLF): Pathways to STEM.

John-Carlos’ teacher recognized him for the program because of his “exceptional maturity, scholastic merit, and leadership potential even at this young age.” 

The week-long STEM program will give John-Carlos the opportunity to explore careers in medicine, engineering, and crime scene investigation. His mother Diana Johnson was surprised when she received the letter.

“I was shocked when I got the letter because I was like wow, I’ve always seen my son as somebody who’s special, I mean every parent thinks that their kid is special, but I’ve always known there was something particular about him that he was gifted,” Johnson said.

John-Carlos says he wants to be a software engineer and build video games when he grows up.

He has been raising money so that he can go to this program by doing yard work in his neighborhood.

“I am willing to pick up sticks for $10 or you can pay me more if you want,” John-Carlos said.

The Johnson family has started a GoFundMe to raise money to send John-Carlos to the program, which will take place in Memphis this July. If you would like to help support the Johnson family, you can donate here.