STUDENT SPOTLIGHT: Crittenden Middle School 8th grader Billy Lemon

A STEM whiz studying robotics and coding

Posted: February 1, 2024

Billy Lemon had so much fun playing video games as a younger student that he decided to figure out how to make it a career.

Now an 8th grader in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math magnet program at Crittenden Middle School, Lemon is exploring STEM all day at school and outside of it as well.

"Robotics and the entire STEM field interest me," Lemon said.

He started attending Discovery STEM Academy for its elementary grade level STEM magnet program in third grade and has continued with the curriculum in Crittenden's magnet program for middle schoolers. He describes learning as an extension of play with a lot of curiosity thrown in.

"The way I entertained myself as a child, I play a lot of video games," Lemon said. "So that was the first thing that made me interested in computers and stuff."

That goes for both computer software and hardware, which includes how video games are created and the back end of how they're made.

Lemon has been a member of Crittenden's Robotics Club since sixth grade and has become much more interested in robotics from that experience. He is learning about building, programming and manipulating robots to test them.

Outside of school, he pursues the same interests in a less structured way.

"Usually I find myself learning new things, but in a way that isn't just learning but is fun," Lemon said. "But being in a school setting helps me stay focused and try my best."

He plans to stick with the STEM field.

"I'm continuing to learn," Lemon said. "I'm teaching myself how to code, how to program in Python. I just started that this New Year's. So that is one of the biggest learning things that I'm doing outside of school.

"For years, I've seen how things are programmed and that coding controls a lot of things that I've found to be fun or just fascinating. So I wanted to try and learn how to do it myself."

His advice to other students: "Learning outside of school can be very useful because you can set your own pace and you can decide exactly what you want to learn instead of going with a curriculum."

Lemon advises finding one's own real interest, whatever that might be, and seeing where it might lead.

"I started from video games, so something simple like a small hobby can lead to a career," he said.

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Visit <a href=>Student Spotlights</a> on the Newport News Public Schools website.
Visit Student Spotlights on the Newport News Public Schools website.