When Robin Johnson was 3 or 4 years old, she wanted to learn everything her older brother was doing.
“My brother was 5 at the time and starting school, and I told my parents to teach me math and that I was always interested in going to school at an early age,” Johnson said.
Johnson’s inquisitiveness for all things learning was apparent during her K-12 years, as the San Benito High co-valedictorian will be attending Reed College, a prestigious liberal arts school in Portland, Oregon.
Johnson earned valedictorian honors with Faith Fernandez and Jaya Waller, the first time three students have shared the honor at SBHS. In early to mid December, Johnson received a congratulatory gift box from Reed College signifying she had been accepted into the school.
Talk about an early Christmas present. Even though most incoming college freshmen have declared a major, Johnson isn’t one of them. And that’s just fine by her. She knows in time things will narrow down, but for now, she’s going to focus on widening her scope of learning.
“Getting good grades and picking a major is important, but I have a lot of things I’m interested in and things to learn that are not specifically school-related,” she said. “That’s why I went to a college that will widen my experiences and will help me grow in other ways, not just academically.”
Johnson has always had a laser-eye focus to get her work done, and that was especially apparent at SBHS. She poured all of her energy and efforts into everything she did, because she didn’t want to have any regrets upon graduation.
“I wanted to know I could be proud of myself for putting in the work so I could look back and know I did my best and everything I could do,” she said.
When the school’s administration held a Zoom meeting to announce the highest ranking students in May, Johnson thought she would finish second or third in the rankings.
“When they announced I was in a three-way tie (for valedictorian), I was surprised,” said Johnson, whose favorite subjects included AP psychology and calculus.
Though having to transfer to distance learning in March 2020 because of Covid was a shock at first, Johnson adjusted well and eventually was in her element.
“After a few weeks in March, I figured out what I was going to do,” she said. “At that point, my motivation was getting through the end, taking AP tests and getting done. This year, I found it a bit easier than being in-person, actually. I like being able to choose my environment and where I’m taking my classes. It was not always easy doing schoolwork, but there was always a light at the end of the tunnel of looking forward to college to keep me going.”