Johnson, who has excelled at computer and mathematics since he was in grade school and even assists with Harlan Independent School District's computer technology program, has been selected for The Academy of Mathematics and Science in Kentucky, a new creation of the Kentucky legislature, which begins this fall.
The program enrolls high school juniors and seniors who have a proven high performance level in the field of mathematics, science and technology in a supervised, boarding-school type environment on campus. Johnson will be a part of the inaugural class for the state, which will take place at Western Kentucky University.
Academy participants will be enrolled in college courses with emphasis placed on science and mathematics, along with field-related research projects.
Even though he's going a year early, the college scene doesn't faze Johnson, who developed his first computer program while in the fifth grade. In the sixth grade, he built his first Web site.
"I'm ready to go to college," Johnson said. "I've always wanted to be able to supplement my self education in computers with actual courses, and so far I've not been able to do that, but this academy will give me this opportunity."
Johnson, who is also the son of Commonwealth Attorney Henry Johnson, said he has been "intrigued" with computers since he was in kindergarten. His family didn't have a computer in the house, though, until he was about 8, but since that investment, the younger Johnson demonstrated he was gifted at the keyboard.
"He's always been interested in taking things apart and seeing how they work," said Henry Johnson of his son.
The Commonwealth Attorney even playfully joked about his son's intelligence.
"We've always known he was smart," he said. "And that's good, but sometimes, it's hard. He has opinions on everything."
But that opinionated personality, coupled with his curiosity and desire to not only know more but to understand more, makes Johnson an interesting youth with lots of promise.
"We enjoy hearing his opinions on things," Henry Johnson said. "He also has a keen sense of humor and is fun to talk to. He's ready for this program. We believe it will be a good experience for him because it will provide a good transition for him into the college scene."
While at Harlan High School, Johnson was hand-picked to assist the district's director of student services, C.D. Morton, with the schools' technology programs. Johnson has helped Morton with installing software and maintaining hardware and also built the district's Web site.
Johnson said one of the biggest reasons that computer science fascinates him is the opportunity the field presents to solve problems.
"I really enjoy being able to identify problems and coming up with a workable solution for the problems," he said. "And to be able to step back and be satisfied with the final solution. There's a challenge to it, and I like that a lot."
While in the seventh grade, Johnson developed his most popular computer software program, which was used as a tool for diagnosing problems on dial up modems and as an aid for parental filtering.
He's also working on developing a movement within the computer field, which he describes as a community effort, to make commercial grade software freely available. Johnson calls the movement Open Source Software Distribution Initiative (OSSDI), which can be accessed at www.ossdi,com.
Besides computers, Johnson is also into music, saying that he is a "prolific consumer" of all types. He's also involved with the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), which stresses civil liberty and privacy rights within the digital realm.
After college, Johnson wants to be a software engineer, but he also may pursue a law degree, as well. He said you can't be the Commonwealth Attorney's son without having some fascination with law.
Johnson want's to take his legal expertise to a different level, though. He's interested in using his knowledge in software engineering to aid in the legal field.
"The law is lagging behind technology development," said Henry Johnson. "Advancements have been made so fast in technology that the legal field hasn't kept up, so technological expertise would be very useful for an attorney."
Harlan Independent Schools Superintendent David Johnson said his district was proud of Johnson's selection into the prestigious academy, and hoped that more will be chosen from Harlan to participate in the future.
"We will hate to lose George," Johnson said. "We will hate to see him go. He's a fine student and has been a big asset to our district. But we know this is a wonderful opportunity for him to prove himself, and we're excited about that for him."