Johannes Nightingale hasn’t formally picked a major yet, but he has big plans.
“I want to start a company of my own. I’ve been thinking that I want to build the next Apple or Microsoft, but without the drawbacks,” the SUNY Broome student recently mused. “Nothing high-priced. I want it to be as good as it could possibly be.”
Of course, those plans can change – Johannes just turned 14, after all, and is still figuring out what he wants to do. And while he’s younger than his peers, he’s been attending classes on campus since the age of 12 and is currently a full-time SUNY Broome student.
He’s also the recipient of a scholarship from the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation’s Young Scholars Program. Each year, more than 1,000 high-achieving seventh-graders apply nationwide for 60 spaces in the scholarship program. Recipients – who are each paired with an educator mentor — receive financial support for a variety of opportunities and resources, such as summer programs, distance learning courses, technology, tutoring and enrichment activities.
His journey began with a music theory class. Johannes, a resident of the Chenango County community of Coventry, was studying flute with a professor at Binghamton University. She recommended that he take a music theory class at SUNY Broome to aid his studies, and so he enrolled – along with his mother, Regina Mason. She had always wanted to learn more about the subject, she noted.
Johannes, who is homeschooled, loved the experience and is now enrolled in SUNY Broome’s Early College program. He’s currently in his fifth semester on campus, his third full-time, and took a placement test to enroll in regular college courses.
This fall, he’s taking computer programming, math, English, history, chamber singers, flute and piano, he said.
Early on, Regina was required to enroll in the classes herself and attend with her son. Now, she only attends new endeavors and Johannes goes to half of his classes on his own.
While he’s a good deal younger than his fellow students, that hasn’t held him back when it comes to forging connections. You might see him grab a chess game with a friend in front of the library, or engage in other activities on campus.
“I really like it. I get along with college students a lot better than people my own age,” he said. “I feel normal here. I hang out with college friends.”
Outside of class, Johannes participates in trail biking, which involves navigating through an obstacle course with large rocks and other features. He writes music, mostly vocals and keyboard, and enjoys exploring electronics by taking devices apart and seeing how they work.
No matter where his career takes him, Johannes said he feels like he’s part of the SUNY Broome family.
“Originally, he was here to take one theory class, but he fell in love. It was a perfect fit,” Regina Mason added. “Now he’s home.”