Shaheen Johnson thought Wednesday, Nov. 1, was going to be a normal school day for him at St. Clare Catholic Academy in Rosedale, where he is in the sixth grade. The day turned out to be anything but normal.
“I came to school. I saw my friends. We were in our class and we were presented our projects. I was told that the news was going to come today when we presented our projects, so I was one of them that asked to participate. However, I never knew that this would be happening,” he said.
Shaheen got the surprise of his young life when John Alexander, marketing and circulation manager of The Tablet, walked into his classroom and presented him with a giant facsimile of a $3,000 check for being the First Place Winner in the Tablet’s Fundraiser for Schools this year.
Shaheen, who took top honors for selling 34 subscriptions to The Tablet, said he was shocked that he won.
But perhaps he shouldn’t have been. He went about the task of selling newspaper subscriptions with focus and determination. “I went to random people and I also went to some family members,” he said. “I worked hard. That is the key to success, working very hard,” he explained.
Shaheen, a forward-thinking student, believes that participating in the fundraiser gave him a chance to rehearse for his future.
“I want to be a business owner when I grow up, so it was pretty good practice,” he said, adding that he had to use his powers of persuasion to convince some folks to buy subscriptions, just as he might have to persuade customers years from now.
Now that he has $3,000, what will he do with the money? Not surprisingly, he is being practical about it. “I’m going to save some for my education in the future,” he said.
He also displayed generosity. He plans to give some of the money to family members.
Shaheen’s maturity stems in part from his upbringing. His parents were both in the military and he has lived on military bases all over the world.
His favorite subjects are science and English language arts. Outside of school, he is extremely active, taking karate lessons, learning to play the