By Amelia Uduafemeh,
Special to the AFRO

Joppatowne High School (JHS) senior Jaydhen Johnson is on his way to greatness. The marching and jazz band member is a standout not only at school, but in his community as well.

“My major inspiration is my mother,” he said. “Throughout my childhood, she pushed me to work my hardest and instilled morals and a strong work ethic in me.” 

Jaydhen says his mother is a fantastic role model who has pushed him to succeed in and outside of the classroom. And her hard work is paying off. 

Not only does he have a full ride scholarship waiting for him at Morehouse University in Atlanta, there is another $180,000 plus offered from schools around the country. Jaydhen says he knew his hard work in high school was not in vain. 

 “I am proud of all the honors and AP classes I’ve taken as they challenged me with intensive coursework and brought me outside my comfort zone,” Jaydhen says. 

Jaydhen plans to attend an HBCU to study computer science, culminating his academic endeavors with a Ph.D. in computer science. 

The two-time consecutive member of the homecoming court is also vice president of the JHS Student Government Association (SGA), where he serves as a student representative in conversations between the student body and administration. 

“I don’t think there’s ever a student-centered event where Jaydhen Johnson is not present, recognized, and celebrated,” Ms. Cleo Rolocut, an educator and coach at JHS, explained. 

She said Jaydhen is always motivating his peers to find success and helping them educationally. Rolocut added that Jaydhen sets the bar for his fellow students, and she is proud that Jaydhen received a full scholarship and over $180,000 in scholarships to other prominent colleges and universities. 

“Jaydhen is extremely motivated, generous and a charismatic individual. In the three years that I’ve been his teacher, he’s proven that he’s dependable and a responsible young man,” Rolocut says.

Mr. Nicolas Sulzbach, another JHS teacher, is impressed with how Jaydhen manages all his schoolwork while maintaining over a 4.0 GPA and working at Chick-fil-A throughout the week. He said Jaydhen is a leader in and out of the classroom, who knows when to prioritize work and his social life to the fullest.  Even before his senior year, Jaydhen had already started applying to multiple colleges and applying for numerous scholarships. 

“Jaydhen is an introvert at heart but quickly warms up to a room,” Sulzbach said.

When asked what advice he has for students who have faced similar challenges like the pandemic and holding down a job, school work and afterschool activities, Jaydhen was quick to offer some words of wisdom.

“If I had to give any advice it would be to always work your hardest and believe in yourself,” he said. “If you don’t believe in yourself –who will?”

Amelia Uduafemeh is a student at Joppatowne High School in Harford County, Md.