David Johnston: CHS’s Graduation Specialist


Cooper Dreon, writer

As a student in high school, life can be stressful and hard. You are expected to keep up your grades, and to stay on top of your homework. A lot of students have jobs or sports they also have to balance with their school life, making it hard for them to get their work done. Here at Capital though, we are lucky to have Mr. Johnston. Mr. Johnston is a graduation specialist, his job is to help students meet their graduation requirements. He helps students by reminding them about assignments they missed, or helping them make plans and outlines for certain classes that they are struggling with. Mr. Johnston drops by throughout the school day to help

Not many teenagers can say they really had someone looking out for them while in school. This is what sets Mr. Johnston apart from other teachers, as there aren’t many teachers who try to make friends with their students. Mr. Johnston is always looking out for us, and helping us through our issues in our classes. Emily Iglesias, a Senior at Capital, has had Mr. Johnston as a graduation specialist since her Junior year. I asked her how she feels Mr. Johnston helped her succeed, she said, “Checking in on me everyday with grades, giving me an outline and helping me stay caught up.” When in high school most teenagers like Emily, play sports or have a job. When you have that time spent up at practice, games, or work, you can easily fall behind in your classes. Mr. Johnston helps you have a plan to work around those extracurricular activities, and he makes sure he reminds you to stay on top of it. I asked Emily if she had seen any improvement in her grades , she said, “Last year I passed with all C’s. This year I have been passing with all A’s thanks to Mr. Johnston, he’s really helping me get through senior year, and he really cares about us Seniors graduating.” 


Mr. Johnston has been teaching for 31 years, 21 of those here at Capital. Before he became a graduation specialist, he was an English teacher. Even when he was an English teacher, you could tell Mr. Johnston truly cared about his students. I got the opportunity to ask Mrs. Bonds some questions about Mr. Johnston. Mrs. Bonds is an ex-English teacher at Capital, now she is our wonderful Librarian. I asked her how she thought Mr. Johnston was a good fit for his role as a graduation specialist, she told me, “Even when he was teaching English he always did a great job of finding authentic ways to connect with kids. He made his classes a lot more student focused.” It was very obvious that Mr. Johnston was very caring and a fantastic fit for his newer role. I also asked Mrs. Bonds how she has seen Mr. Johnston helps his students, “In his current role he puts in a lot of steps to find kids in classes to ask them how they are and how he could help.” Right after this response, I asked Mrs. Bonds to describe Mr. Johnston’s help in two words, she said, “Patiently persistent.”

I got the chance to ask Mr. Johnston himself about his job. The first question I asked him about was how many kids he worked with. He told me, “I work with around 70 juniors and seniors, I also work with 50 sophomores and freshmen on their grades.” That is around 120 students he keeps track of. Learning 120 names, keeping track of 120 peoples grades, and even more. With every single kid, Mr. Johnston works hard to personally understand us, and find us the best way to succeed.

It is truly astonishing the amount of people he helps each and every day at Capital and how many lives he impacts, Mr. Johnston works hard to make sure students pass their classes and is an amazing person to have watching over you.