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Rayshawn Johnson Story from Philadelphia Tribute:

posted Apr 14, 2017, 4:18 PM by Mike Hoffberg   [ updated Apr 14, 2017, 4:20 PM ]    - 

Masterman student accepted into eight top U.S. colleges

When Rayshawn Johnson would tour college campuses, he made his mother a promise that he would bring back a pennant from each school. College and university banners adorn the walls of his room, his mom Jessica said.

“When he came back, the pennants had to go on the wall and we made a vision,” Jessica Johnson said. “Everyday (Rayshawn) woke up and had a vision of where he wanted to go. That was part of the process. Making a claim, never saying you can’t.”

Now a graduating senior at Julia R. Masterman Middle and High School at 1699 Spring Garden St., letters of acceptance from all eight of the distinguished colleges he applied to now fill his wall as well.

The 18 year-old been accepted into four liberal arts colleges, three Ivy League schools and one Historically Black College, University. They include: Yale University, Brown University, Morehouse College, University of Pennsylvania, Amherst College, Bowdoin College, Swarthmore College and Orberlin College.

He received a full academic scholarship to attend Morehouse, but his heart has led him to his first choice, an Ivy League school that has an acceptance rate of just six percent.

“There is no question about it, I love the community,” said Johnson of Yale University. “I like the city of New Haven (Conn.) and I like the programs that Yale has to offer.”

Johnson plans to double major in political science and finance. He has a 3.97 grade point average and is the president of his school’s African American Cultural Committee, vice president of the Peer Counseling Group, a member of the Student Government Association, a volunteer mentor and tutor in the city’s library’s and a member of Enon Tabernacle Baptist Church.

“I’m religious,” Johnson said. “A lot of the messages we receive at church are about having a special calling and a special gift and discovering what you’re gift is so that you can be a contributing member to the world. I found through various avenues that my gift was teaching kids and being a mentor and a person they could look up to.”

At school, his teachers and counselor helped guide him and wrote letters of recommendation for his college applications. He credits his parents, Rayshawn Sr. and Jessica Johnson, as the driving force behind his success. He lives at home with them and his 15 year-old brother Raymir, a ninth grader who also attends Masterman.

Since eighth grade Johnson’s goal has been to attend Yale, said his mother, a proponent of public education.

“We all have to do our jobs, it’s been a partnership,” Jessica Johnson said, noting the family’s faith in God comes first. “You’re 50 percent responsible (administration and school), but the other 50 percent should be on us (me, my husband and Rayshawn).”

It was his cousin Anthony Phillips that took him to visit some colleges campuses. Phillips said no student is without flaw, but his cousin strives for perfection.

“I think he is going to go very far,” Phillips said. “His parents really raised him well.”

Ultimately, Johnson would like to receive his doctorate degree because as he said “it’s always going to be in the back of my mind, what I’m doing and what I’m doing it for.”

He wants to remind young people that they can do more outside of sports and arts.

“We’re not encouraged to use our brains,” Jackson added. “I think we’re the most intelligent, Black childrean especially, but young people in general. I just want to use my gifts to uplift the urban community that I think has helped me to get to the place where I am right now.”