celebrate education - brought to you by the amarillo globe-news

It's goodbye goats come fall

Raising prize-winning goats not the half of it

By Cheryl Berzanskis

ADRIAN - To say Elisabeth Johnson, 18, is an accomplished young woman is almost an understatement.

Johnson, valedictorian of her graduating class of seven at Adrian High School, is the product of a small school but has turned that into an opportunity to try everything from sports to debate, to meet people and expand her horizons.

"I've enjoyed doing everything I've participated in," she said. "I really think it's just fun. You might wake up as a cheerleader, then go to debate."

Some of her accomplishments: Induction into Phi Theta Kappa, junior college honor fraternity; Future Farmers of America; Family, Career and Community Leaders of America president; 2008 Oldham County Chamber of Commerce student of the year; 2008 Oldham County Stock Show Grand Champion Boer goat; 2007 Oldham County Stock Show showmanship award - Boer goats, basketball team captain, cheerleader squad captain, and University Interscholastic League debate state qualifier for four years.

Johnson said she has a knack for math and science and can be a little too serious and sometimes impatient with others.

She plans to attend Pepperdine University in Malibu, Calif., this fall to pursue a degree in international business. Career-wise, Johnson is looking for a flexible job that lets her stay home with her children, like her mom.

Her life has not always been charmed. At age 14, her thyroid was removed, and the wait to learn whether the 20 tumors were malignant was tense. Johnson recovered, but she said the ordeal left her feeling sometimes that she doesn't have control of her body.

Pat Blankenship, retired superintendent of Adrian schools, has known Johnson from birth. He described her as a nice young lady who always has been eager to excel at whatever she does.

"Just a real conscientious young lady," Blankenship said.

And her odds for succeeding in life?

"I think she just has all the makings," he said.

Her father, David Johnson, is superintendent of Adrian schools. He calls her a natural leader and self-motivated for a teenager.

Her mom, teacher Becky Johnson, described their daughter as a wind-her-up-and-let-her-go type.

"She gets motivated and just does it," Becky Johnson said.

Paula Fairchild, preschool Sunday school teacher at Adrian Church of Christ, taught Elisabeth Johnson. Now the senior helps Fairchild with the children fro ages 18 months to 5 years.

"She is excellent with children and loves children. She is a really big help to me. I think she is a very special kid," Fairchild said.

Editor's note: The Globe-News is profiling a student a day from May 9-29 as part of its 2008 graduation coverage. Students were nominated by Globe-News readers.

calendar of events
  • January 11
    Kickoff of 2009 Program
    Find out what Celebrate Education is all about in this special section in your Sunday paper.
  • March 7
    Regional Spelling Bee, West Texas A&M University
    The annual Regional Spelling Bee will feature the top spellers from the Amarillo area. The top five winners will receive scholarship money ranging from $500 to $5,000 and the winner will travel to Washington, D.C., in June to represent the area in the Scripps National Spelling Bee.
  • Spring and Fall
    Amarillo Reads community-wide reading projects.
    Dates and details TBA
  • April
    Amarillo Education Matching Grants Program. Exact date TBA
  • April 10
    What's a Kid to Do Special Section
  • April 12
    What's a Kid to Do at the Amarillo Civic Center
    This event will focus on activities and camps for children to participate in during the summer..
  • May 8-29
    Beating the Odds
    A series of stories published daily in the Amarillo Globe-News during the graduation season that profiles people who have inspiring stories to tell about the degree they are about to receive.
  • May 12
    Ready for the Real World program at Amarillo Civic Center
    AISD juniors get training on what's going to face them in a little more than a year.
  • May 16
    Best and Brightest Special Section
  • May 16
    Best and Brightest Event at West Texas A&M University
  • Fall
    Discover College Day
    Fifth graders from area schools visit college campuses.
  • October 1
    Great Jobs Special Section
    Focusing on well paying jobs available in the area that people may not know about.
  • November 2
    Career Education Special Section
    Focusing on businesses and others in the community helping young people gain a career vision.
  • November
    Yes You Can Event
    Designed to help people gain information about the next level of education from GED to PhD. Date TBA.
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