North Heights and Main Elementary students get a look at success

“When I was young, my grandmother would take us to the Community Kitchen and to all of the different churches to volunteer,” said Kierra Johnson who attended Main Elementary. “Not only were we helping them, but we were in the struggle with them. So I know what that struggle feels like; I know what it is. I always wanted this type of school environment when I was a student at Main, so I am happy to come home and to give back as often as I can.”

Having access to success is important in the development of a child.

Part of the North Heights and Main Elementary’s Future Self series brings men and women who faced adversity to return to their elementary school to speak with students in hopes that they will inspire other children to find success.

Kierra Johnson attended Main Elementary as a child and graduated from Rome High School in 2012. Johnson later went on to graduate from Georgia Institute of Technology with a degree in marketing, and she now works for the American Cancer Society in their marketing department.

Downtown Atlanta is a long way from Reservoir Street where she grew up, and she wanted to let the children she spoke to know that getting there was possible if they faced their fears and know that they deserve the opportunity to shine.

Johnson spoke to them about the hard work and support she needed to achieve greatness. Much of that support came in the form of teachers she has had over the years, many of them from the Rome City Schools system.

“You have to know that you belong in a better place,” she said, “and you have to feel like you belong there. Part of my struggle was feeling out of place, and when I decided that I wanted to experience new things with new people, I realized that this is what I wanted out of my life.”

“One thing I can say,” Principal Wesley Styles added as he spoke to the children after hearing Johnson’s story, “is that education is your key to the life you want. I cannot stress that to you all enough. You don’t have to be the type of student who just loves school work, but one day you will see the value in getting an education. We are here to help you to realize your dreams and we will always do our best to help you, just like so many teachers who have helped Ms. Johnson.”