The call to serve
Johnston has a history of community service and service projects. Those projects ultimately led to her feeling a higher calling, so to speak.
“They asked a lot of questions about my community service,” she said. “I’ve always been very involved. I’ve done a project every month like in the first month I did a clothes drive for Spider Web Consignment Shop. The next month, I did Falcon Care Day, where students went around and helped in the community.”
She was a natural leader in the projects.
“I had a good response from the community,” Johnston said. “There was a lot of help and support from the school. I think it was important with all the budget cuts to take part in all of this. I feel education is something you can’t take away and I wanted to show people what that education meant in the community.”
She’s also popular with her schoolmates at Jefferson. She was voted Jefferson’s homecoming queen in the fall.
The difficult path
It isn’t easy to become a student who gets into a service academy. However, Johnston chose the most difficult path.
“I’ve always worked really hard,” she said. “I put academics at the forefront. I kept a 4.0 and am valedictorian. I’m very proud of that.”
The time she spent on school may have taken away from being an athlete or having a social life, but Johnston doesn’t look at it like she missed out on anything. She been in Model U.N. for four years, earning 16 awards, marching and concert band, where she is a lieutenant and plays trumpet, is a two-year member of the National Honor Society, has been class president, served on the Red Cross blood drive committee, been involved with student council for two years and the Ashtabula County Youth Leadership.
“It took a lot of dedication to study,” she said. “I’ve always taken the hardest classes I can at Jefferson and some different AP classes. I spent a lot of nights studying for the ACT. It took a lot of dedication and a competitive spirit.
“I definitely wouldn’t consider it a sacrifice. I’ve got priorities. I want to achieve my dreams. I have opportunities available to me for my future. I can be proud of who I have become and I can make my family proud of me. I’m just really excited for the opportunities ahead.
“Living in a small town, I was feeling some of those opportunities were far-fetched. Now, I know so many doors are open to my future. This has shown me I can get where I want to go as long as I’m ambitious.”
It wasn’t just in the classroom where Johnston worked or excelled. She spent a good deal of time in athletic endeavors, learning many of the traits that serve her well in the Navy.
“I’m happy with what I’ve been involved athletics-wise,” Johnston said. “I was junior Olympic volleyball for seven years, varsity volleyball for four years, track for two years and softball for two years. It’s not just being in physical shape, but it’s also teamwork and communication and leadership skills. Without that background, I wouldn’t be as well off.”
Athletics also fueled a fire within Johnston.
“I definitely wouldn’t have been the same without sports and competition,” she said. “That’s fuels my passion.”