BY DEXTER MCCREE, Feature Writer
ST. PETERSBURG – In starting at Northeast High School, Aryon Johnson didn’t know what to expect. She remembered her middle school teachers telling her how hard high school was going to be and how much of her life depended on how well she performed there.
Heading into a brand new school and all new classes was nerve-racking. Random thoughts clouded her mind. Will I remember how to get to my classes? How hard will the classes be? Will any of my friends be there? Can I keep up with the work?
After the first week, Aryon realized that things were going to be all right and would actually be better than she had imagined.
“I know that high school is the first step into my future, and I have a lot of little cousins that look up to me for guidance,” said Aryon. “Knowing this, success is the only option.”
Going into high school she had never taken an honors class. Ayron was fearful that she wouldn’t pass them, and when she got her schedule it was filled with not only honor classes, but advance placement classes also.
“I had a choice to make, but then again I really didn’t have a choice. Failure was not an option,” she said.
One of the classes on Aryon’s schedule was Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID), which is designed to close the achievement gap by preparing all students for college readiness and success in a global society. AVID brings research based strategies and curriculum to educational institutions in elementary, secondary and higher education.
This was the just program to calm Aryon’s fears and ensure her success.
“If it weren’t for my AVID teachers, Sarah Newman and Somer Menne, pushing me to study, I probably wouldn’t have done as well as I did,” stated Aryon. “AVID was major in helping me become organized with my school work and also with time management.”
With her extra time Aryon joined the cheerleading team and cheered her ninth and tenth grade years. She also volunteered at Shore Acres Recreation Center as part of a requirement for a high school class. As a student volunteer, she was an art room junior leader that also helped with homework time.
In her senior year she decided to play flag football for Northeast and joined the team as a wide receiver and center. She continued to do well academically and received the Hispanic Provost Award, AVID Speaker Award and made honor roll.
Aryon’s high school highlight was passing the ACT the first time she took it. That opened the door for her to attend Xavier University in Cincinnati. Her intended major is neuroscience. Her dream in 10 years is to be a brain surgeon.
After looking at her schedule, Aryon saw classes that she would have never taken on her own. In middle school she limited herself to taking classes that she knew she could handle. She never wanted to challenge herself because of the fear of taking on too much and not doing well. Even Aryon became a believer in herself.