Students in solo class were treated to a performance by the Kimberlin Heights Trio Friday. The trio has performed together since the spring and is made up of JU Provost Jon Weatherly, right, JU Music Professor Don Trentham, middle, and JU Bible Professor Jerome Princeton.
KNOXVILLE — Alyssa Bode is excited as she begins her freshman year of college. She is pursuing a business degree at Johnson University.
On Aug. 17, 2018, Bode moves into her college dorm room. She traveled from her home in Dandridge.
Bode grew up with two twin brothers, Levi Bode and Dakota Bode. Alyssa began homeschooling in the seventh grade alongside her brothers. The rest of her middle and high school experience was spent getting her education at home.
After visiting JU the summer before her 12th-grade year, Alyssa knew JU was where she wanted to be.
“I loved being homeschooled but, the atmosphere here was really cool. I love getting to meet people from different places,” Alyssa said. “I would compare every school to Johnson. They had my major, and the people were really friendly.”
Alyssa said she fell in love with the scenic views of the campus. She said she admired the communal atmosphere of the people on campus.
“I love how much everyone here loves Jesus and each other,” she said. “I knew I wanted to play a part in that.”
Since her arrival, she has found people to grow in community with. Alyssa said she has participated in all of the activities from Genesis Weekend, the university’s freshmen welcome experience.
“Saturday night was my favorite,” she said. “I was able to get to know people. The worship was really cool too.”
Alyssa said she is looking forward to pursuing her business major at JU and hopes to continue to meet new people.
Before coming to Johnson, Barron graduated from Summit High School in Franklin, TN. She learned about the university through soccer recruitment and said she felt at home the first time she visited campus.
“I did a tour and everyone just made me feel very loved, and valued, and included, so I came and I tried it out,” Barron said.
Barron, now a junior, is excited for the year to come, and especially for a new season with her team. She said that the relationship they all have is one of her favorite things about being a student-athlete in college.
“We can all be real with each other, be crazy, and all have our own interests but also come back together as a community with different interests and still enjoy that part of each other,” Barron said.
She was originally majoring in Intercultural Studies so that she could do mission work, however, she felt called to pursue Sports and Fitness Leadership instead. She said she does not have specific plans for what she would like to do after she graduates.
“I’d like to do something with sports ministry,” Barron said. “I don’t know what that will look like though.”
Knoxville — As the 2018 school year begins, senior Carli Long reflects about her time at Johnson.
Growing up in Memphis, Long heard about Johnson from her youth pastors who both attended Johnson. While sharing stories from their time as students, Long’s youth pastors encouraged the students to tour their alma mater.
“I didn’t want to be a preacher,” Long said. “I asked them why I would go to Johnson Bible College.”
After reassuring Long that the school offered a multitude of majors and that the name had been changed to Johnson University, Long’s youth pastors convinced her to tour the school.
“When I came here for Preview Day, it just felt like home,” Long said. After four years, coming back on campus still feels like home. Pursuing a degree in Education, Long hopes to complete the Holistic Education Masters after graduating in the spring.
At the beginning of every year, Long said she looks forward to meeting new people and deepening current relationships.
“I love the personal side that comes with going to Johnson,” Long said. “It is a very strong, tight-knit community.”
Long has been a Freshman Resident Assistant for three years, a job that she is passionate about, mainly because of her Freshman RA’s who invested in her.
“One of the reasons I keep coming back to being a Freshman RA is that I love being able to pour into new girls,” Long said.
In a way, walking with these freshmen is Long’s way of helping raise the next generation of Johnson students. Looking back over her four years at Johnson, Long offered advice to the new freshman, reminding them that “transition takes time.” Coming as a freshman is a drastic change, and is easy to become discouraged when the transition does not come quickly.
As graduation quickly approaches, Long has been praying how she can invest in people with her remaining time.
“My goal right now is focusing on the present, enjoying each day I get here at Johnson,” Long said. “I want to take mentor my new freshman girls and to be there for them because I know how important this season of life is for them.”
There are many stories Long said she will remember from her time at Johnson, especially memories made as an RA.
“Just a few days in as my first year being an RA, one of my girls came to my room saying she had caught her mac and cheese on fire,” Long remembered fondly. Both trying to keep calm while also reframe from laughing, Long remembers opening the door to see black smoke coming from the room.
Knoxville — Caleb Giffin, a Sophomore at Johnson University, is preparing for his second year of college.
“I am very excited to dig deeper into my Bible knowledge and continue building my new and current relationships,” he said.
Giffin is a Worship Ministry major and said he is excited to get back into his classes. One project in particular that he is excited about being apart of is Vox Royale.
Vox Royale is a new music performance group starting this semester that will include both a cappella and other forms of music.
Only a handful of Worship Ministry students were selected to be part of this new opportunity.
“I am looking forward to working with super talented vocalists and performing songs outside of the traditional worship music,” Giffin said.
Music is not the only activity Griffin has been involved in at JU.
Giffin said he is involved in a couple of work-study positions around campus. One position he said he also held last year is landscape assistant for Plant Services. Along with that position, Giffin said he is also going to be a teachers assistant for Mark Weedman.
He said that outside of campus life, he is looking forward to church-hunting Sundays.
“It is really interesting to see how differently churches run things,” he said.
Giffin said he found out about the university through a Johnson recruitment team when attending Camp Rudolph located in Virginia.
He said he chose Johnson because of the current students he had met and the great things he had heard about the music program.