I CRIED…

Andre Johnson, who recalled having to constantly struggle against poverty and other adversities in Jamaica, has graduated from Hofstra University in the United States with a Doctorate in Jurisprudence.

The 30-year-old native of Decoy in St Mary graduated yesterday, May 20.

Johnson previously attained a Bachelor of Arts in History from the University of the West Indies (Mona), a Bachelor of Law from the University of the West Indies (Cave Hill), and a Master of Law from Hofstra University.

He disclosed that he will now work as a Public Defender at the Knox County Community Law Office in Knoxville, Tennessee.

“I am the only black male working in the office and one of two black attorneys in that office,” Johnson told The Beacon.

He, in the meantime, already belted a number of awards and accolades since he has been in the United States.

He, for example, is the 2019/2020 Gideons Promise Fellow, and the Leon Stern Criminal Courts Bar Association of Nassau County (New York) Criminal Defense Advocate of the Year.

Johnson, who said he intends to give back to his native Jamaica, wants to be an inspiration to his siblings and everyone who has been told they would have amounted to nothing.

“I want to use my life story to inspire people. At the end of the day, it is not about the number of degrees or letters behind my name. What I want to do is to inspire people to think big and to dream big,” he told The Beacon, adding that he is now writing his first book titled Tears of a Black Sheep.

The graduate of Charlemont High School in Linstead, St Catherine, admitted that he cried when he reflected on his journey from his deep rural St Mary village to the pinnacle of academic success.

This is his ‘I CRIED’ soliloquy – as posted today on his social media page:

Yesterday was the culmination of my academic career. I am eternally grateful and indebted to my friends and family members who supported me on this journey.

I am an example of what hard work and dedication can achieve.

I am not ashamed to say that I cried after being conferred with my degree.

I cried because my journey/my story has been one of constantly overcoming adversity and challenges.

I cried because I could not believe that the little black boy from Decoy, St Mary, was just conferred with a Doctor of Jurisprudence.

I cried because I remembered that, on my first day at Charlemont High School, I was wearing the old khaki uniform that I had from grade 5 in primary school.

I cried because I remembered the many days that I attended school without lunch money.

I cried because I remembered that teachers told me that I would not amount to anything.

I cried because I remembered that I was the proverbial ‘black sheep’ of my family.

I cried because statistics dictate that I should not have made it.

I want my story to inspire others to believe in themselves and to constantly fight to achieve their dreams.

When I started Hofstra Law in 2016, I started on faith. I had no idea how my tuition would be paid but that is another story for another time.

Today, after many years of studying and toiling, I am happy to say that I have made it.

I am ready to tackle my other challenges.

I am excited at what God has in store for me! If I can make it, you can make it too.

My name is Andre Johnson, and I MADE IT! P.S Please do not call me doctor.


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