Antwain “AJ” Johnson is a sophomore in Notre Dame’s Class of 2025.

There’s not much offered at Notre Dame that AJ is not involved in. Although he was recently sidelined due to injury, AJ has been playing on the ND Football team for two years as a Guard/Nose Guard. His teammates report that they love playing with him because of his positivity, enthusiasm, and pride for the school’s tradition.

Despite the long hours and grueling practices, AJ has continued to stay on track with his academics. His hard work is paying off with excellent Quarter 1 grades, and his teachers commend his engagement and effort in the classroom. Dr. Sean Gleason ‘03, Latin teacher and a current Shepherds mentor, wrote about AJ: “He is a true asset in class–he’s attentive, interested, dedicated, and a natural leader in the classroom. AJ can always be counted on to volunteer to decline a noun or conjugate a verb on the board, as well as help keep his classmates focused and on task.”

In addition to this, AJ represents the Class of 2025 as a member of the Student Government Association. In SGA, AJ works collaboratively with students and administrators to promote positive change in the school community. So far this year, AJ has helped to organize a pep rally, service projects such as breast cancer fundraising, and food donation drives.

One of the qualities we like to see as educators is students pushing the limits of their comfort zone. Since entering Notre Dame, AJ found yet another avenue to explore: Drama and Theatre. This hasn’t been easy- AJ is an active member of the football team which happens to practice at the same time as Theatre. He has managed his time nicely in order to afford himself the opportunity for both extracurriculars. Theatre Department director, Casey LaMonaca, writes, “…His positive attitude and work ethic make him a great role model for his peers…[he is] well-liked and respected by the students and adults alike.” AJ starred in the role of “Sandy” in the production The Man Who Came to Dinner which received rave reviews from the local community. With his natural talent and stage-worthy charisma, AJ is excited for the next production, Once Upon A Mattress, coming in Spring 2023.

AJ’s commitment, dedication, and perseverance to his future is truly inspiring. His mother,

Melissa Singleton, was asked how she felt about AJ’s development since entering the Shepherds/Notre Dame community. She wrote, “ I’m proud of everything- his growth in leadership, his perseverance and determination to go above and beyond, his charm and genuine spirit…I’m proud to be his mom.” When AJ was asked about what motivates him, he responded “It was always my dream to come here [ND], and Shepherds afforded me the opportunity. I know that I am supported by my mentor, Adam Novak, my family, and the school, so I will always be proud of how hard I am trying to succeed.”