Below are three of their stories.
J’La Johnson, Arbor Preparatory High School, Class of 2022
One thing most graduates of National Heritage Academies schools have in common is a key teacher or role model who has made a difference in their learning experience. For Arbor Prep grad J’La Johnson, that person has been Math Teacher Reagan Chuang.
“Mr. C was there for me when I was struggling in AP Statistics and never gave up on me,” Johnson said. “He did all he could to not just hep me, but all his students. He truly believes in our educational capabilities and does all he can to help every single one of his students. I really appreciate him a lot and most students at Arbor Prep feel the same way.”
Johnson has excelled at Arbor Prep as a multi-sport athlete (varsity volleyball and soccer) and is a participant in the Early Middle College program. She’s planning on studying applied science and medical terminology to become either a nurse practitioner or physician’s assistant.
“Being a part of the EMC program was a great opportunity and experience,” Johnson said. “I believe that many students would find the program to be very helpful as it sets you up for a good educational experience, and a college degree.”
She said her experience in athletics helped shape her as a person.
“Participating in these sports helped me gain friends, confidence, sportsmanship, become a leader, and learn how to communicate,” she said. “Without having played sports, I would not be the person I am today.”
Johnson spends her free time with friends at the park, mall, or going out to eat.
“A skill I now have that not too many know about is my ability to understand and accept people,” she said. “Not many people know how understanding I am no matter the circumstances. I am always open and treat people with kindness.”
Good luck with your future education, J’La!
Johnathan Pickett, Arbor Preparatory High School, Class of 2022
Johnathan Pickett transferred to Arbor Prep during his sophomore year, which created some challenges, but he credits his time on the basketball team with helping grow friendships.
“It introduced me to a group of people that I could consider my first friends,” Pickett said. “I managed to make long-lasting friendships through the basketball team, which gave me an amazing start at finding who I wanted to be in life.”
The next step in that process is college to study pharmacology, and he plans to live a much quieter life to focus on his studies.
“I hear people always talk about how they regret not focusing in class or how they regret partying so much instead of studying,” he said. “I plan on learning from their mistakes and paving a way for myself that leads to a brighter future that I can be proud of.”
A teacher who helped shape that desire in Pickett is Math Teacher Chad Mack.
“I have grown to respect him a lot. He takes his math class seriously because he wants us to do well, and he also shows a lot of care for the students, no matter how disruptive they tend to be. I have also seen a pretty cool side of Mr. Mack, where he presented himself as just a normal guy that had pretty cool interests and hobbies that I could relate to and talk with him about whenever nothing special was going on in class. I have always appreciated that he gives people a reason to believe that he enjoys teaching and wants to give everyone a chance to succeed in life.”
Pickett said he has interests in writing, research, and debate but also enjoys playing video games from time to time. He’s been limiting that play lately though due to other priorities in his life.
“I think the reason I started playing fewer games is that I keep getting extremely focused on my studies and schoolwork and balancing it with daily life requirements,” he said.
Congratulations on graduating, Johnathan!
Ania Pritchett, Arbor Preparatory High School, Class of 2022
Ania Pritchett has known where she wanted to go to college since her eighth-grade year: Alabama State University. The Arbor Prep grad has lived up to that goal and topped it off by earning a soccer scholarship.
“It took staying up late, missing out on social events, and a lot of self-discipline,” Pritchett said. “Stepping out of my comfort zone was the biggest challenge I faced. Coming out of middle school being quiet and closed off, I had to learn how to ask questions without feeling judged or embarrassed due to my fear of failure which I feel like I just mastered in my senior year of high school.”
Pritchett said she was able to balance school with soccer to create a healthy and fun balance between the two.
“Having practice two times a week while also going to extra practices and getting some touches on the ball on my own definitely was a huge contributor to getting me where I am now. It was hard work, but I enjoyed every challenge I was faced with during this journey,” she said.
Pritchett said she’s an avid cook and even considered going into culinary arts school, but instead will be majoring in psychology and minoring in criminal justice. She also enjoys fashion and focused on both while spending time at home during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“During COVID, there wasn’t much to do in the house, so I started creating outfits and putting pieces together. In a lot of my free time, I spent it looking at clothes and shoes to buy to expand my wardrobe.”
Two teachers that helped in Pritchett’s journey were Spanish Teacher Jodi Chuang and English Teacher Chandler Lach.
“These two particular teachers created a fun learning environment that really helped me look forward to class,” she said. “I had Mrs. Chuang freshman year and junior year for Spanish 1 and Spanish 3. I never would’ve thought that I would enjoy a class so much. She encouraged me to answer questions in class when I really didn’t want to, when most of the time I knew the right answer.
“Mr. Lach as well. I’ve always loved English but taking English 10 really inspired me to further my English career. Honestly, both teachers helped me figure out what I like to learn and how I like to learn, which I really appreciate. I wouldn’t trade the memories, impact, and good lessons those classrooms and teachers have blessed me with.”
Good luck at Alabama State University, Ania!
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