Alumna Spotlight: Johnnie K.

Johnnie, an alumna of our DC Metro Ward 6 Achievement Center, has been involved in international development since she was 10 years old. She has also served as a youth ambassador, liaison, and delegate to the United Nations. Read on to learn how Higher Achievement played an important role in shaping Johnnie into the person she is today.

How did you hear about Higher Achievement? 

Johnnie:  Mr. Matt Thornton, then Ward 6 center director, went to my school. He talked about Higher Achievement, and I remember wanting to join then and there. It sounded amazing. My parents definitely approved, and so I joined.

Why did you want to become involved in Higher Achievement?

Johnnie: I remember loving the thought of college. The college trip sounded super appealing. I figured it would be a really cool way to meet more people, and make a more connection to my community. I wanted to be challenged, and be in a community that was a mix of work and play.

How did Higher Achievement make a difference in your life?

Johnnie: The social justice themes at Higher Achievement played an important role in shaping me into the person I am today. Higher Achievement created a supportive atmosphere at center, and gave me the tools to not only feel comfortable as a leader, but also to reflect on what it means to be an active member of a community. When I came to center, I saw the adults exemplifying these themes, and my peers followed suit, which facilitated an environment where I felt comfortable using my voice to advocate for justice, and to ask questions that would help me make well informed decisions. The life skills and lessons I learned at Higher Achievement still play an important role in my life.

Tell us about your favorite mentor, staff member, or teacher. 

Johnnie: Ms. Erin, she was my Achievement Coach, and we went bowling, on shopping trips, and to other events. I think of her like an older sister. I just talked to her the other day.

What are you passionate about?

Johnnie: I am passionate about human rights, and an issue that has always been close to my heart is access to quality education. Higher Achievement taught me that education is the key to unlocking opportunities. I learned that education is a basic right that is constantly being challenged around the world and domestically.

What is your favorite accomplishment?  

Johnnie: I’ve started a scholarship for low income students in Pakistan in 2014 while I was the Vice President of Youth for Humanity. Getting the opportunity to execute a product with a team was amazing. I felt like I was doing something that I always wanted to do.

What are you up to these days?

Johnnie: I’m currently studying abroad in Spain. I go to school. I am taking Spanish cooking classes right now. I’m also directing the play “Annie” for local youth. I love it.

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