A Desire to Help Those in Need

Written on 04/10/2024
Paul Batterson, Contributing Writer

Compassion, Drive Prepares Senior for Pre-Med Track at South Carolina

Ralph Waldo Emerson once wrote, “The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.”

Worthington Christian senior Deyona Johnston has spent a lot of her time living up to Emerson’s credo and has the callouses on her fingers to prove it.

As the leader of the school’s United Front program, Johnston spent a great deal of time with her fingers, making blankets for the homeless and making bracelets for middle school students who are preparing to enter high school.

“She has always been looked at as a leader,” Principal Tim Kraynak said. “She’s a very thoughtful, compassionate individual who cares about the well-being of the students of Worthington Christian. She always has the best interests of others at heart.”

Johnston plans on taking pre-medicine courses at the University of South Carolina next fall to put her on track to becoming a doctor.

“Ever since I was young, it’s been a goal of mine to help people,” Johnston said. “And there’s a lot of people who need help.

“(I think that drive comes from) seeing the people in my life struggle with medical issues. I know other people are less fortunate than I am; I want to be one of the people to help them.”

Johnston believes Worthington Christian has helped prepare her for both a life of service and a career in the medical field.

During the school’s senior Spring Break trip to the Dominican Republic, she served on the group’s medical team, helping dispense Tylenol and ibuprofen at the pop-up clinics.

“The school has offered a lot of science courses and put me on track for what I want to do,” she said. “One of my favorite classes has been honors anatomy and physiology. I love that class because it explores the human body in such detail. That helps me feel confident about what I want to be in college.”

Johnston came to Worthington Christian in ninth grade from a tiny Christian school that had only 20 students in each class. Although two of her classmates at her old school joined her at WC, she remembers feeling overwhelmed the first few weeks of her first quarter.

“There were a lot more people than I was used to being around,” she said with a laugh. “I mean, when I first started here, there were multiple lunch periods.

“It was a change of pace for me to find out where classes were and all that stuff.”

The school’s curriculum also took some getting used to. Johnston said she wasn’t used to getting Cs on her report card. She allowed the experience to drive her forward.

“I think one of the things I had to overcome was my fear of failure,” she said. “I had to accept everything had a purpose and allow God to take control of certain areas of my life. I had to let go of things so my fears wouldn’t overtake me.”

Playing softball helped Johnston expand her friend group at Worthington Christian. She started playing right field, then moved to first base and pitched a little bit last year.

“I had never played before, but I was feeling a little bit adventurous,” said Johnston, who worked her way into a starting role as a sophomore.

“Softball gave me a bunch of new friends, people I wouldn’t have talked to before. It became a place that made me feel safe to be my extroverted self and express my true personality.”