NC Wesleyan honors Johnson

Published 12:00 am Saturday, November 11, 2006

ROCKY MOUNT – One of Hertford County’s most influential educators has been honored by his alma mater in a special ceremony.

Wallace E. Johnson, who led several Hertford County Middle School Quiz Bowl teams to state finals while serving as an instructor at that school, received the Distinguished Alumni Award from North Carolina Wesleyan College on Oct. 14.

Johnson graduated from Wesleyan in 1982 with a degree in history.

At Wesleyan he was a member of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Sigma Pi Fraternity, the Student Government Association and was also junior class president.

An outstanding athlete in college, Wallace was named to the All Dixie Conference (now USA South) in Cross Country in 1979, 1980 and 1981.

Johnson was named Academic All Conference in 1980, 1981 and 1982.

Johnson, who has been a licensed teacher in Hertford County since 1987, currently serves as Mentor Coordinator for HCPS.

In Johnson’s current capacity he assists new teachers to the county’s public school system.

&uot;It is my job to help look after the new educators who come to the region,&uot; Johnson said. &uot;I help with curriculum implementation as well as social adjustment to the area.&uot;

Johnson also serves as an educational consultant for the Department of Public Instruction and the North Carolina Teacher Consortium.

Johnson is a multiple recipient of the Hertford County Middle School Teacher of the Year Award, the 1999 National Young Man of the Year Award and the 2001 White House Fellow award.

Johnson was one of two Wesleyan alumni to be recognized, after being selected from 100 finalists.

&uot;In June I received a call saying that I was one of 100 finalists that were chosen from graduates for the past 50 years,&uot; Johnson said. &uot;I really didn’t think much of it until the field had narrowed to 10.&uot;

Johnson said he was blown away to receive the honor.

&uot;I really did not expect to receive this honor,&uot; Johnson said. &uot;Out of so many distinguished alumni, I would’ve never figured anyone was paying attention to my career.&uot;

Johnson’s ascension from humble beginnings in rural North Carolina was the catalyst for his receiving the award.

&uot;My parents were sharecroppers,&uot; Johnson noted. &uot;We did not have very much at all growing up.&uot;

Johnson, who worked four jobs to help pay for college, said what his parents lacked in luxury, they made up for in love and motivation.

&uot;My daddy made sure my siblings and I learned to appreciate hard work,&uot; Johnson said. &uot;He always said that if you want something, to go out and get it.&uot;

Johnson hoped that his success might motivate other aspiring educators.

&uot;If you associate with the right people and find the right direction, you will be successful,&uot; Johnson said. &uot;Just remember that pushing students to do their best is a teacher’s number one priority.&uot;