Scholar of the Week
By Janeal Downs
Ever since she was little, malady Maya Johnson has had an “obsession with reading.” She loved reading so much that there would be times that she would sneak books with her wherever she went and her mother would find them. Even as a senior in high school, reading is still one of Maya’s favorite hobbies. She mostly likes to read fiction books. “My love for reading helped me a lot in school and made topics, questions and discussions that were hard for most students easy for me,” Maya wrote in an essay. Growing up in a big household with four other siblings, reading was her escape from her “ever-noisy surroundings.”
Because reading helped her in school, she also began to notice her talents with certain subjects, in particular math. While other kids were complaining about the subjects, she was able to make connections and understand the mathematical methods. “One thing that I learned that always stood out to me was when money was first introduced to me,” Maya stated. “On television money seemed like the most important thing to people.” Seeing her mother struggle financially and Maya’s interest in math and money is what influenced her to pursue a career where she could use her talents and support her family. She plans to continue her education by going to college and studying to become an actuary or an investment banker.
To further her education, Maya’s two top choices of college are the University of Richmond and Virginia Tech University. Other than the fact that they are both in Virginia, she is also impressed by their business schools. While she is still in high school, Maya stays active as a volunteer for the Community Outreach Ministry, serves on the executive board of the Mayors Youth Academy Future Leaders Council, and she is also the president of her school’s Future Business Leaders of America organization. With the Community Outreach Ministry, Maya usually works in the child care section which she said has helped her learn how to interact with different age groups other than her little brothers and sisters. “I’m a hard worker and I’m really invested in my community and making a difference,” Maya said. One example of this is her work with the Future Leaders Council where they are working on presenting a plan to the mayor about working to fight poverty in Richmond. In her spare time, Maya still enjoys reading but she also likes to cook.
With plans of working in the business field, Maya’s main goal is to be happy. “I know I’ll be successful in everything as long as I’m happy.” One of her biggest influences is her mother. As a single mother of five, seeing her struggle and her strength, made Maya want to be able to take care of everybody. Although her mom always told her that “money doesn’t buy happiness and no amount would ever be as important to her as her children,” Maya hopes to enter the business world to help make a difference for her family and also in the community.