Allen Johnson Jr. is just a few days away from walking across the commencement stage at Wabash College – something he attributes to a work ethic instilled in him in the classroom and at home by his mother.
“Shortridge (High School) was a place where I learned how important incorporating different ideas of education was important to a person. Many of my teachers at Shortridge were very supportive in making sure that I applied myself to all the work I was doing,” he said. “The expectation was high for me, so I had to make sure I was always putting my best foot forward. In education that is important because that’s how you find out what you really like. That helped me devise that college was for me.
“At Shortridge, I enjoyed playing basketball and golf, while also being a part of musical theater and other clubs and organizations. Being a part of these productions and having the opportunity to play sports made me prioritize my time while also being around all my friends. I truly enjoyed my Shortridge high school experience. “
Johnson, who will graduate May 13 with a bachelor’s degree, entered the Crawfordsville-based school and has been a major force on the campus during his four years. He’s participated in the Malcolm X Institute of Black Studies program and he’s also a four-year member of the Wabash golf team, Student Senate’s Mental Health Concerns Committee and Student-Athlete Advisory Committee.
He also works as a senior peer career advisor for Career Services and a server for Bon Appetit Catering.
His commitment to excellence as well as his development into a campus leader was recently lauded by the university. Read more here.
“Students get the opportunity to truly find out what they like in the college realm,” Johnson said. “College not only taught me skills in the classroom but gave me the experience to meet new friends, play a collegiate sport, and working hard to grow. I loved my experience in college and I think all students should get this opportunity.”
When Johnson is handled his hard-earned diploma, there will be a contingent of family members and friends attending the ceremony, including his biggest fan and mentor, his mother, Lauren A. Johnson. She’s the principal at James Whitcomb Riley 43, a member of Indianapolis Public Schools (IPS), the largest public school district in Indiana.
“We are very proud of him as an IPS graduate,” she said. “He’s an incredible young man who has made his mother extremely happy.”
The son is also proud of his mother.
“My mother was a motivator when it came to education. As many know she has worked in the district for many years, so she was always a strong proponent of supporting my education,” he said. “My mom always told me that education came first and when I took that approach, I learned a lot. I’m thankful to have another that is supportive of everything I do and looking for more ways to learn.”
After graduation, Johnson will be attending Ball State University to pursue a master’s degree in student affairs administration in higher education.