My name is Johnny and I was born and raised in the suburb of Milwaukee County in the city of West Allis, Wisconsin. I was born into a family that I thought was your average, traditional family and my parents were ‘normal’. I had a father and mother and two incredible sisters. What I did not know until my adulthood was that both my parents suffered tremendously from lack of confidence and no sense of self and faced many fears and challenges that they never addressed. My father stuttered severely and it literally impaired his self-esteem, self-worth and total confidence in almost everything he did. He was the hardest working man I have ever known, was incredibly loyal to his job and worked there for 40 years but never believed in himself. He was forced into retirement because he came down with a disability due to Multiple Sclerosis and passed away a couple years later; I was 15 at the time.
I took on my father’s exact persona and from the age of five up until the age of sixteen I had regular visits to the school speech-language pathology.
It all started in kindergarten through tenth grade in high school where my stuttering robbed me of my confidence. After my father died, I dropped out of tenth grade and worked numerous jobs, always staying busy. I decided at the age of 24 enough was enough and decided to go back to school to get my GED. I enrolled into college and went for two years, dropped out and became a professional model. This was the turning point in my life because this lifestyle challenged me to step outside of my comfort zone. I started making friends and my confidence improved. After this incredible life opportunity, I later decided that I needed to go back to college and it was one of the best things I ever did. I refused to quit and expected only the best of myself, so I graduated as one of the top students in my program and in 2015 from Clayton State University with a 3.5 GPA majoring in Health and Fitness Management and minoring in Business. I am the first person ever in our entire family history to have ever gone to college and graduate with a bachelor’s degree. That is something I am very proud of. I say this not to brag, but to remind anyone who may wish to attend college that it is possible no matter what your background is, no matter what your past teachers or peers or anyone ever said about you. You truly can accomplish things when you refuse to give up and are 100% committed to your vision.
Remember, it is possible to overcome fears and life challenges and transform them into incredible opportunities.