ST. PETERSBURG — When Jiana Johnson was in kindergarten, she had a glowing smile of confidence on her beautiful cookie face. She also had a gift for the written word.
She confessed to taking copy paper from her mother’s printer — which she was not allowed – and writing a book about a centipede. The details of that story escape her, but the experience is unforgettable.
Her method of producing her book was by writing the story over and over on that stolen copy paper. She then distributed a copy to each of the students in her kindergarten class.
Jiana soon advanced to producing her first newspaper. She took a sheet of paper and folded it in half and wrote her stories. Her sources were taken right off of Bay News 9 as she watched Erica Riggins and Al Ruechel.
No longer a kindergarten, Jiana is a 2018 graduate of Lakewood High School and continues to create memorable moments.
“At some point, you have to realize that success starts with self,” she said. “Nobody owes you anything. You don’t deserve anything unless you go out to get it.”
In route to graduation, there was much that garnered her interest and put her skills on display. Jiana attended John Hopkins Middle School where she began to hone her writing skills by joining the school newspaper.
She was given an award for being the “Most Talented” reporter, and also published her first book entitled “About the Necklace.”
When Jiana entered Lakewood High School, she continues to pursue her love of writing. She joined the Spartan News Network as a writer and later a copy editor.
She became the secretary of Quill & Scroll, an international journalism honor society, and participated in Future Business Leadership Association (F.B.L.A.) In the F.B.L.A. state competition, Jiana was recognized as one of the top 10 journalists in the state of Florida.
She received the All Florida Award from the Florida Scholastic Press Association for a story she wrote on Coach Necole Tunsil, the girl’s basketball coach who also took the reins over the swimming team. Jiana was also recognized for “Best Handwriting” on the Spartan News Network.
When the young journalist wasn’t writing news stories, she was writing for one of her challenging classes. She maintained a 3.5 grade point average while holding a rigorous class schedule.
In an effort to be prepared for college, she took two advanced placement and six honors classes in her senior year. Athletically, Johnson played middle hitter on the varsity volleyball team and was a varsity football cheerleader.
In college, Jiana will pursue a degree in English and creative writing, and plans on joining the school newspaper and broadcast journalism team. In 10 years, look for her to have more published books on display in one of the homes she’ll be selling as a real estate agent. She’s also toying with the idea of becoming a life coach.
She lives by the thought: “If anything interests you, pursue it! Don’t let the opinions of people you won’t see in a few years distract you today.”
Jiana is the daughter of Jeanette Brantley-Johnson and Patrick Johnson.