Speaking to guests at the annual In Vino Veritas Dinner last week at the Hercules building in downtown Wilmington, Johnson said he was more than happy to put his nervous jitters aside to show supporters how proud and appreciative he is of the investment Nativity Prep made in him as a student in middle school.
“Where I come from, you learn from a very young age not to take things for granted because in Wilmington some kids don’t even make it far enough in their lives to have opportunities like this,” he said. “Nativity taught us that we could see more, could do more and were worth more than the blocks we’re raised on.”
The seated dinner included 250 guests – community and business leaders, educators and several students and faculty who are passionate about the rewarding experience offered at the Catholic middle school for boys. Two other graduates also gave impassioned remarks at the dinner about their years at Nativity Prep – Julian Vanderhost, who is a project manager for SAP in Palo Alto, CA, and Alex Johnson, who owns Johnson Construction in Wilmington. The school’s 50 students attend thanks to the generosity of private funders.
Johnson is heading to DeSales University next year, and like the other Nativity Prep students who have come before him, he has returned to the school numerous times to complete hours of volunteer work and to encourage younger students to stay focused on their educational path.
One hundred percent of Nativity graduates from classes 2014 – 2017 are attending high schools. Some of those include Archmere Academy, Delaware Military Academy, Salesianum, Tatnall and Tower Hill.
Johnson enjoys the mentoring opportunities and the chance to connect with kids who come from backgrounds similar to his own. He views each of the students at Nativity has having “limitless potential” and is proud of the infectious spirit and the drive to do well inspired by the faculty. “In this very moment there’s dozens of hard working, hard playing, dream chasing young men just like me waiting for their time to step out into the world and make a difference.”