Edina Prep Elite 2011
Watchful eyes have been focused on these five elite Edina preps since before they graduated elementary school. Whether it’s before judges, or fans and spectators, this bunch is used to the spotlight -- and used to thriving in it.
Edina Magazine showcases the highlights in these young lives through narratives about how they got into the limelight. These are short stories of passion, perseverance, application of talent, and in all cases, hard work.
He has never met his dad. His mom was addicted to drugs and is serving 25 years in jail. He bounced around to other family members in Texas, Oregon and Tennessee before a brief stay in an overcrowded house in Minneapolis. After a scary incident, that house would become the last stop of his transient childhood.
After playing in a youth basketball tournament, the sixth-grade boy returned home to rest up for more games the next morning. The small home was shared by seven, including his sister, aunts and – in particular – one of their boyfriends who had a proclivity to drink. Johnson’s rest was interrupted late at night with the boyfriend’s demands to clean his room … or else.
“He was drunk, came in and said, ‘If you don’t clean up, I … will kill you,” says Johnson of his memory at about age 10.
In the last seven years, his life has twisted 180 degrees. He was adopted by Doug and Sarah Jones of Edina and has been given opportunities to succeed. He plays football, basketball and runs track for the Hornets. With a 3.87 grade-point average, the senior-to-be entertains the prospects of studying math and science in college next year.
But what would life have been like if he stayed at that overcrowded home in Minneapolis?
“I try not to think about it,” he says softly of how much he moved around. “I was always depressed because I never made permanent friends, all temporary. It was sad because I would meet new friends and then I would have to give them up.”
And now, how’s life with the Joneses?
“They’ve given me a chance to be normal,” he says, perking up. “They’ve given me an opportunity to a better education at the top public school in the state. And they’ve given me a chance to play sports.”
At 6-foot, 180 pounds, Johnson has excelled at running back and cornerback in football, as a forward in basketball and as a sprinter in track.
“Sports are everything behind academics,” he says. “It’s what keeps me going. I try to prove right those that believe in me and wrong those that don’t.”
Who is your role model? Sarah Jones
What is your dream job? Playing in the NFL or NBA
What is a source of inspiration? Proving people wrong
Name a unique personal trait? Competitive spirit
What is your biggest fear? Failure and death
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