JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-RANDOLPH, Texas –
Jasony Johnson, daughter of U.S. Army Maj. Nakisha Johnson and Chief Warrant Officer 4 Anthony Johnson, returned as Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph’s Youth of the Year nominee at Austin, Texas, this past March. At first glance, this 16-year-old teenager appears like most teenagers. However, it’s her professionalism that sets her apart from the rest.
“Although our journey is similar,” Johnson said. “What sets me apart from my peers is wanting to make a difference and influence change - now.”
Johnson thanks her parents for helping her prepare for the competition. She learned to take advantage of opportunities and not put off things that she can do today. She had to develop resumes, write a four-page essay, and dedicate hours of practice in public speaking.
Johnson volunteered her time as a clerical assistant with the Positive Impact Enterprise and the Summit Christian Center as a youth educator and lead teacher. She also received the Volunteer Award during her time with the Upward Bound Program. Despite it all, winning wasn’t her only focus. Johnson also wanted to grow with her competitors and build relationships.
“It was humbling to see other young leaders as passionate who wanted the same thing I do,” she said. “It wasn’t easy. I had to dig deeper and work harder this time to go to the next round.”
Unfortunately, Johnson didn’t win this year’s competition. However, she became one of the mentors for first-year competitors because of relationships developed in past matches.
“We were able to joke and be comfortable with one another,” she said. “We didn’t feel like we were in a competition. We just wanted to build each other up. We felt like family.”
Her mom played the role of her mentor for this year’s competition. She taught her how to work hard and to be resilient.
“My primary goal was to help her understand that it wasn’t about winning,” her mom said. “Every step you take toward your destiny is a win. The whole point of it all was to condition her and help her embrace the destiny she wants to attain.”
As a military child, Johnson has attended 10 different schools. She only stayed in one location for about two years throughout her childhood.
“I adore her for being able to understand the importance of not despising the journey of military life,” her mom said. “It’s hard and challenging. Not only did she have one parent in the military, she has two.”
Even though Johnson didn’t win this year, two lawyers noticed her professionalism and offered her a summer internship toward her goal of becoming a lawyer. Representatives of an organization also inquired if she was willing to speak at future engagements.
What’s next for this young, resilient, steadfast, and accomplished teenager?
“After high school, I want to attend Harvard University, study law, criminology and psychology. I want to be an attorney and then a judge. Maybe open up my own law firm – make a difference, make a change.”
Since 1947, Youth of the Year has been the Boys and Girls Clubs of America’s premier recognition program. Each year, one exceptional Club member is selected to be the National Youth of the Year serving as an exemplary ambassador for Boys and Girls Club and a strong voice for all of our nation’s young people. Military Youth of the Year distinction to recognize outstanding teens served at BGCA-Affiliated Youth Centers on U.S. military installations through a partnership with the U.S. Armed Services.