2023 Rising Star of the West finalists: Serenity Johnson
“Disabilities are different because people don’t know about them,” said Serenity. “So I think just me being up here and existing... hopefully that changes how people look at things.”
RAPID CITY, S.D. (KEVN) - It’s time for the finals in this year’s Rising Star of the West scholarship contest.
You’ll hear from our four finalists over the next four weeks, as they compete for a total of $7500 in scholarships from Black Hills FOX and Monument Health. This year’s winner heads off to college with a $4,000 scholarship.
Serenity Johnson, a Stevens High School junior, has probably faced more of life’s hurdles than most kids her age, but it doesn’t stop her from seeing life as a glass half full.
“Disabilities are different because people don’t know about them,” said Serenity. “So I think just me being up here and existing, people are like ‘wow, okay. There’s a blind person and she seems the same as the rest of us’ and hopefully that changes how people look at things.”
Serenity credits her positive attitude to her father, Ralph, “I am so thankful for my dad because when I was little and I was diagnosed with my blindness, he never let me know that it was something different. He was never upset about it so there was no reason for me to be. So I think it’s given me a good outlook, where it’s easier for me to be like ‘there is an upside to this, you can overcome anything’.”
Her dad isn’t her only support though, so is the rest of the family.
“My family is so important to me. I have a little niece and nephew and any chance I get to spend time with them. I love being outdoors so in the summertime my dad and I go fishing and kayaking with our dog, Jessie, a lot. I love music and I’m involved with the National Federation for the Blind,” continued Serenity. “I just got voted in as their secretary so that’s super cool to be around that atmosphere and that group of people.”
Although she’s only a junior, Serenity already has big plans for her future.
“I want to become a teacher, right now the goal is to become a TVI, so that’s a teacher of the blind and visually impaired,” explained Serenity. “When I moved here, I didn’t like school. I thought ‘It’s hard and it’s not fair to me because I can’t see and it’s difficult’ and then I came here she [Serenity’s TVI] 180 changed how I had my outlook on life and what I could accomplish and so I really hope one day by becoming a TVI, I can give that same experience to other kids.”
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