Evans Middle student to study in Europe
by Bradley Hartsell
A lot about Cody Kimble suggests an ordinary seventh-grader.
He answers questions in a matter-of-fact way. I ask him what his favorite subject is, he simply says “science” — and he says he doesn’t study that hard, just enough to get by.
Most kids, though, aren’t invited to study in Europe for a summer, traveling to seven countries in 20 days.
People to People Ambassador Program, which organizes the study abroad, requested schools in the area nominate several students for the trip, based on grades, scores and character. Kimble was one of three from Evans Middle School to be invited.
If Kimble doesn’t study as hard as his grandmother, Joan, would like, it’s because he’s busy getting into a hundred different things. He’s a second-class Boy Scout. He brought a lockbox of his badges to our interview, showing off his chemistry, robotics, First Aid and wilderness survival, among others.
Partly because of Boy Scouts and partly because his mom and grandmother are so involved in his life, Kimble is learning to cook. I ask him what he cooks and he says “a whole bunch of stuff over an open flame.” His next project is making Amish bread.
He’s learned how to sew his own jackets when he gets holes in them. And he’s learning all the time from his 88-year-old great grandfather, Bartow “Junior” Kimble, a retired Coweta County prison guard who teaches Cody how to tinker in the outdoors.
One of Joan Kimble’s biggest points of pride is how much her grandson loves to read. He says he loves non-fiction about the military and engineering. When he says he likes Legos because “I love to build,” it means something different coming from him. It’s not hard to imagine him not just playing but thinking about what he’s building.
“I don’t know where it comes from. I really don’t,” said Joan. Homework, studying, that seems to be the last thing on his mind most of the time. She remembers when Cody was sick and had to miss a significant portion of a lesson, but he showed up to take the test and passed it easily.
I didn’t let Kimble get away with just telling me science was his favorite subject. I asked him why. He said, “Well, chemistry is probably my favorite. I like the mysteries of science. ”
When he says that, the light goes off and it’s clear this is a kid who’s enormously curious. He gets a little bored by school because he knows the material and he’d rather be reading about how a praying mantis catches a moth, something he tells me all about in great detail (they trap them under their fore-limbs).
Though Kimble might rather build a Lego Grand Central Station than do math homework, his grandmother shouldn’t be too worried. His math and science scores were impressive enough, in the 95th percentile, to get Kimble invited to the Duke University Talent Identification Program, a fast-track program to scholarship opportunities.
Right now, the challenge for the Kimbles is being able to come up with approximately $15,000 it’s going to take to fund the Ambassador trip. Joan and Kristi, Cody’s mom, are working hard to raise funds so that he can go, but Joan isn’t stressing too much over it. She’s affable and optimistic, always laughing and cutting up.
She actually has to tell Cody to loosen up, to have more fun. That may seem surprising, but Kimble isn’t a goof-off that shows up just long enough to ace his tests. Kimble is more serious and more thoughtful. He just applies it to many more different areas of his life than most kids his age. Some kids may study more hours a night than him, but they probably don’t have their wilderness survival badge, and they probably don’t cook, sew, fish, build and read military books.
It takes a minute to see, but give him a chance and Kimble will show you he’s indeed not an ordinary seventh-grader. He’s hoping he’ll have the pictures next summer to prove it.