Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Leadership lived: UIS program helps student fulfill his dream


Blake Johnson, who recently graduated from the University of Illinois Springfield with a bachelor’s degree in Sociology/Anthropology, has always wanted to become a teacher.

Thanks to UIS’ Project Midstate Student Support for Teaching he’ll get that opportunity. The program helps students pay for college; with the promise they’ll become local educators following graduation.

“I really, really want to be a teacher because at a very troubling time in my life there were some really awesome teachers that stepped up and really uplifted me and helped me to be here and the leader I am today. I hope to be that person for someone else in the future,” said Johnson.

Outside of the classroom, Johnson was the Student Government Association representative for the College of Education and Human Services and mentored kids in Springfield Public Schools through the AVID Tutoring Program.

Johnson spent the spring semester student teaching and observing at Jefferson Middle School in Springfield. He even planned a visit to UIS, so students in his class could learn more about college.

“It’s deepened my passion for it because I can see where I can be effective. I see where my leadership skills I’ve gained from UIS can be useful,” said Johnson.

UIS gave Johnson the opportunity to travel throughout Europe and learn about other cultures through the Study Abroad program.

“Having those experiences abroad with other cultures, other leaders from other places in the world was really, really intriguing and eye opening just to know there’s a whole world out there,” he said.

As a Springfield native, Johnson always knew about UIS, but didn’t know about the abundance of opportunities until he visited.

“When I first stepped on campus, I felt like home,” said Johnson.

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