AGE: 13. GRADE: Eighth grade.
DID YOU KNOW? Nelson-Moore is working on programming an app for the iPhone.
South East Junior High: Student

Chances are good that Ethan Nelson-Moore has as much to teach you as you do him.

At 13, the Iowa City native and South East Junior High School eighth-grader already writes computer programs for Macintosh and Windows, plays cornet in the school band and piano after school, has biked hundreds of miles on a tandem bike with his dad, Dave, and is designing a city that exists 50 years in the future for his seminar class.

“We have to do every aspect,” he said. “The official sport, how people dress, the government, everything.”

He already has several ideas about what he wants to be when he grows up, too.

“Something I’m very interested in is the brain and nervous system. I would be interested in being a neurologist,” Nelson-Moore said. “And I want to do something in computer science, or (be) an engineer.”

For Nelson-Moore, school is a source of joy. He finds it in Miss Basile’s language arts class — “When we come into the classroom, we wonder what she’s going to be teaching,” he said. He finds it competing alongside his teammates in Knowledge Master Open, an after-school game show-style program with trivia questions on a range of topics including math, science, history and current events — “I have so much fun, it doesn’t seem like it’s at school,” he said. He finds it at the school library, where he likes to read science fiction books by Terry Pratchett and nonfiction books by neurologist Oliver Sacks.

And for those who interact with Nelson-Moore every day, they find joy in learning from him.

“(Nelson-Moore) is unfailingly cheerful, has an incredible mind and a very generous spirit,” said Mike Merulla, seminar and American studies teacher. “He’s not afraid to speak his mind, even when his opinions may be unpopular.

“I’m very pleased to be his teacher, but I must say, there are times when I’m his student, too.”

— Stephanie Wise

South East Junior High student Ethan Nelson-Moore

South East Junior High School

ADDRESS: 2501 Bradford Drive.
PRINCIPAL: Deb Wretman.
735 students.
MASCOT: Little Hawk.

School fun fact

South East Junior High has won the state title for the Iowa Black History Month Quiz Bowl competition for the two years the competition has been in existence.