2023 Students of Distinction

Grady Johnson tackled a number of leadership roles

Posted on May 12th, 2023 By:

Gig Harbor Now is posting profiles of each of the Students of Distinction being honored by the Greater Gig Harbor Foundation. The students will be honored during a banquet from 6 to 9 p.m. Wednesday, May 17, 2023, at Ocean5, 5268 Point Fosdick Dr.

Student: Grady Johnson

School: Peninsula High School

Category: Academic Achievement

Grady Johnson is a leader on the football field, the basketball court and the track and has been recognized as a Scholar Athlete in all three sports, all while maintaining a 3.99 GPA.

He’s also an ASB Senator and a member of the National Honor Society and has led his PHS Food Bowl and Winterfest teams the past two years. In fact, during his time at Peninsula, he has accumulated more than 190 hours of volunteer service in addition to receiving academic and sports accolades.

ASB leader

Grady’s favorite activity has been participating in ASB. “Deciding to join ASB really led to a lot of other opportunities,” he said.

Grady Johnson

Another favorite thing has been playing football with the Seahawks. “Football has really kept me honest in academics and athletics. I wouldn’t have been able to be held accountable like I was as part of the football team. I learned that it’s important to do it for the team.”

In spite of all the awards and other recognition he has received in his high school career, he’s most proud of being the student leader of the PHS Food Bowl team for two years. Under his leadership, PHS collected more than 30,000 items for local food banks.

His leadership also led to Winterfest setting fundraising records the past two years.

Eyeing a math career

He notes his biggest challenge has been procrastination. “I have a habit of pushing stuff off,” he said. “I’ve had to learn to not do that, because it resulted in my worst semester when I got an A- in my sophomore year.”

In spite of that A-, Grady is headed to Harvey Mudd College in California this fall to study mathematics. He plans to get a masters degree in math and pursue a career as either a sports analyst, a teacher or an actuary.

PHS English Teacher M. Blair, who also teaches English and humanities at TCC, wrote in a letter of recommendation that Grady “excels because he takes pride in his work and understands the value of the knowledge he is gaining.

“He approaches his academic classes in a manner that allows him to not simply learn the material, but to see it in such a way that he can apply it to other areas of study and to his interests beyond the classroom. For example, watching him work through his AP Research project, I saw him integrate information from science and health classes as well as from what he had learned regarding marketing and his experience in athletics.

“On the field and on the court, he is a leader, and I know he will be in an active participant wherever he goes. He is outgoing and interested in what happens around him and he understands that being involved on a level beyond that of a student will deepen his own experience, and in that, those he interacts with benefit.”

Grady’s advice to younger kids on how to navigate the challenges of high school: “In your first two years, be really well-rounded and join lots of clubs, do sports, participate in ASB. That will open up lots of possibilities for the rest of your high school career and you’ll have a head start on knowing what your interests are and what path you want to take.”

Grady Johnson

Parents: Molle and Eric Johnson

GPA: 3.99

Class ranking: 8

Achievements/Activities: Scholar Athlete football, basketball, track; Cleats vs. Cancer All Star Football game (bringing awareness and support to children and families fighting cancer); 190+ hours of volunteer service; student leader – Food Bowl and Winterfest; numerous athletic honors including Senior Award and Coaches Award ­­– football; football team captain; News Tribune 2nd team All-area Football; Knowledge Bowl; ASB senator and treasurer; National Honor Society

Favorite teacher: Mr. Pratz. “He was my statistics teacher and has inspired me to go into mathematics in college. He adapts to every student and knows how to teach any and all students. (Pratz) also has a great sense of humor but knows when to buckle down and teach.”

Best thing about PHS: “The amount of opportunities it provides for every student. No matter what subject sparks your interest, you can take classes to accelerate your learning. Outside of academics, the clubs and sports programs provide an option for all students to be able to build relationships outside of the classroom.”