Student wins national scholarship

Published 6:00 am Wednesday, February 13, 2002

WESSON — The stars are the limit for one area youngster who wasrecently recognized nationally for his scientificaccomplishments.

Kyle Murphy Whitaker, the 10-year-old son of John and PamWhitaker, got a good start on his college savings a few weeks agowhen he earned a $3,000 scholarship for an experiment he entered ina national competition.

The scholarship, along with a certificate and a $150 gift cardto Wal-Mart, was his reward for winning second place in the RayovacScience Fair Challenge.

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

“When they announced it at school, I fell out of my chair. Icouldn’t believe it,” he said.

He recalled how when his mother picked up a flyer about thecompetition at Wal-Mart, which was one of the sponsors, he neverimagined he would even place in the competition.

Even though he knew he was competing on a national level againsthundreds of students from first through sixth grade, Kyle Murphy, athird grader at Wesson Attendance Center, still wanted to give it atry.

He started researching projects that used batteries to createenergy until he found the combination he wanted to enter in thecompetition.

“I took some ideas out of a book and me and my Papaw put it alltogether,” he said. “He’s an (electrical) engineer, so he knowsabout wires and how they work.”

The project was not the first one he and his grandfather, GeorgePhilyaw, had collaborated on, but it was the most recognized.

Kyle Murphy was especially glad to have his grandfather’sknowledge in creating his project, which dealt with serial andparallel circuits, showing how one is more economical and uses lesselectricity to brighten and dim two lights.

“Kyle Murphy is real good at working on things like that. He haseven fixed his reading teacher’s computer when no one else could,”said his mother. “He had it working in 10 minutes. Then he told herwhat to buy to make it work better.”

He often works on computers with his grandfather. The two evenrebuilt a computer last year using parts from several oldcomputers.

“Science is my favorite subject,” said Kyle Murphy. “I want tobe a scientist.”

His love for science and computers has also been noticed byothers. In some of his subjects, Kyle Murphy has to put out extraeffort to make the grade, but his mother said everything seems tocome natural in science and computers.

“All the teachers were so proud of him. They were jumping up anddown,” she said.

Kyle Murphy was amazed that he was the only child inMississippi, and only one of two from the South, who placed in thecontest.

He looks forward to a future in science and computers, but untilthen he’s still searching for ways to best spend his gift card.

“I only get $25 a month to spend, but what I want costs more, soI’ll have to wait,” said Kyle Murphy, mentioning how he wants ahand-held organizer, but was satisfied with a game this month.