Grateful past student gives back
At just 22 years old, Daren Johnson already sees it fit to give back to a society from which he has gained the education that has put him firmly on a path to success.
Johnson rose from humble beginnings in the rural community of Middle Buxton, but always wanted to be the best he could be.
He attended Aabuthnott Gallimore High School (AHGS) in Alexandria, St Ann, graduating in 2010 with nine subjects, all with distinction. Johnson then moved across the parish to Moneague College and successfully pursued a teaching diploma in secondary education, graduating with high honours in 2013.
Johnson taught English Language and business education for a short time in Jamaica before migrating to the United States (US) that same year. In the US, he completed his bachelor's degree in business administration at Monroe College, New York, leaving the institution as one of the top graduates in his batch.
Currently, Johnson is studying at Pace University, pursuing a master of science degree in human resource management, while serving as graduate teacher/research assistant to some distinguished professors in New York.
With all of that is happening, Johnson has found time to fly into the island to show his appreciation to those teachers who helped shape his character and to encourage students to aim high and never give up on their dreams.
Teaching in the US since he migrated, he said, has brought him success, and he firmly believes that he should give back to the institutions in Jamaica where it all started for him.
At AHGS, Johnson told the students that it was not about him, but about how he could empower and encourage them on their journey to success, thus becoming the powerful and impactful men and women he knows they can become.
The budding business professor established a grant, in his name, to go towards the top boy and girl in business studies for their achievement, on a yearly basis. Each student will receive a trophy and cash award.
Johnson also presented principal Eloise Panton, his former teachers Malesha Allen (accounts) and Maureen Glave (business) with gifts of appreciation.
"I want the students at Aabuthnott Gallimore to recognise that there is greatness in them and they, too, can accomplish what we as past students and other successful people can achieve," Johnson told Rural Xpress.
"Aabuthnott Gallimore has really paved the way for me. When I was there as head boy, I was exposed to so many things that really aided my development, so it feels really good to go back and try to make a difference."
At Moneague College, principal Howard Isaacs was delighted to have Johnson address the morning assembly.
Referencing entertainer Nesbeth's hit song, My Dream, Isaacs said having Johnson coming back (to lecture) was his dream for the institution. Isaacs said he was happy to have made a positive impact on Johnson while he was at Moneague College and even today as he was excelling abroad.
In his presentation to the students, Johnson encouraged them to remain motivated as they were wonderfully created to achieve their unique purpose, and with faith, commitment and hard work, they would achieve greatness.