Courtney Johnson

DSC4674Courtney Johnson from Portland High School is the child of drug-addicted parents. She says her mother “strayed in and out of her life” on a continuing cycle of boyfriends, drug addiction, and imprisonment. Her father is incarcerated.  She was taken into state custody with her grandparents are guardians. When Courtney began having trouble in school, and after many hospital trips had trouble in school, and doctors discovered that she had severe hearing loss in her right ear.  She relies on her hearing aid to help her in social and academic environments.

When her grandmother became ill, Courtney had to care for her brother who has Autism. Temper tantrums once injured her so badly she had to go the emergency room to be treated for a concussion. All these stressors weighed heavily on Courtney, and she came to a decision that she had to make her life better.

To deal with the effects of a chaotic childhood, Courtney threw herself into schoolwork and other activities. She also works at a nursing home on the activities staff. She says she works to bring laughter and caring to the patients.  Courtney says: “when you laugh in the midst of tragedies and struggles, you have already won.”

Courtney is in the Beta Club, active in Musical Theater and Choir, sings in her her church choir, and is a member of The Fellowship of Christian Athletes and the National Honor Society.

Dana Kennedy, her school counselor, says “…it amazes me how much she has been able to accomplish with no help from family at home.  It just goes to show her dedication for learning.”  She also states that Courtney “is quiet and kind” and she ” is blessed with intelligence and a kind heart….”