Featuring Alumni – Kelsey Johnson

Inspired in Her English class, grad now picks up education torch


Nandika Mansingka, Editor-In-Chief

Caught up in the whirlwind of school and the demands and obligations of being full time students, kids often forget to remind themselves of the people who have the biggest hand in preparing them for their futures. Teachers are devoted to making sure students are capable of achieving every goal successfully, and it’s no small feat to have a role as someone’s guide. There are only a select few who are built for this often unappreciated labor of love, and 2012 alumnus Kelsey Johnson is a chosen one.

After graduating from Cinco and attending St. Edwards University in Austin, Texas, Johnson moved on to teach 8th grade English and coach 8th grade girls for volleyball and basketball at Del Valle Middle School. Teaching has been her goal since high school.

“I knew I wanted to pursue a career in English by my freshman year of high school and by the end of my junior year I wanted to be a teacher with a creative writing minor,” Johnson said. “Cinco supported my love for reading and writing, including having a teacher-fostered creative writing club and Dead Poets Society. Cinco found validity in every students contributions and found ways to support us.”

Johnson’s main inspiration was her own teacher, Mrs. Sullivan, who taught AP Writing and Rhetoric her junior year. Much of her realization that she wanted pursue a degree in teaching on top of an English degree grew after she spent time in Sullivan’s class.

“I don’t know if she knows how much she impacted my life,” Johnson said. “She never gave up on me, even when I had a really bad day or sometimes week in her class. She is one of my major inspirations for becoming an English teacher at all.”

According to Johnson, Cinco has prepared her for her adult life and career by teaching her how to prioritize herself in ways that are productive instead of selfish. She was able to prepare for the workload of her job after dealing with the workload at Cinco. It also taught her to lean on others through tutoring opportunities, and learn that it’s okay to ask for help. Perhaps most importantly, observing people that were already in her chosen profession, her teachers, prepared her the most.

“Personally, being taught by teachers of the caliber that Cinco hired allowed for me to have experience learning from teachers who were extremely successful in the classroom,” Johnson said. “So I was able to take several of those techniques into my own classroom.”

Cinco’s extracurriculars were immensely helpful in preparing Johnson as well, teaching her many valuable lessons. As a marching band member for all four years of high school, Johnson learned about family and loyalty, as well as how to prioritize academics, the importance of which she recognized only later. According to Johnson, as a former yearbook student as well, she had a lot on her plate, but the skills she learned were invaluable.

“Band taught me that it was okay to need help from others sometimes, which in the teaching career is increasingly more important than it was for me in high school,” Johnson said. “Yearbook showed me that having a focus was important and that there is no such thing as bad constructive criticism, which was crucial to learn before starting my career path towards being a teacher, especially for middle school students.”

Teaching and being in a school environment brings Johnson back to her own time in high school. According to her, she loved pep rallies and football games, and branching out from her corner of the fine arts department to be a part of the excitement by marching down the hallway and “hyping everyone up”.But especially, she treasures her own interactions with teachers in high school, which Johnson wants to emulate with her own students.

“December of 2009 snow day, the snow started falling so thick that they made school a half day and teachers were just letting students go outside and have snowball fights,” Johnson said. “While the snow didn’t last long, it was still one of those memories that you always think back on, especially having a snowball fight with your chemistry teacher.”

For Johnson, Cinco Ranch High School has been a source of inspiration as well as a safe haven.

“I gained persistence and determination,” Johnson said. “No matter what is happening there is always a silver lining in the clouds. Between extracurriculars and the academic focus at Cinco I learned that there is no way to fail in life unless you just stop trying your best.”