Holy Innocents’ Episcopal School, graduate
Johnna Gadomski made a mark in high school through working with organizations that helped others, both locally and globally.
At Holy Innocents’ Episcopal School, Johnna founded the school’s UNICEF Club and also volunteered with the school’s Change-A-Life Club, which paired high school student mentors with at-risk students at Ridgeview Charter School, a Sandy Springs middle school.
Johnna’s first endeavor in helping others came through the UNICEF Club, a group of Holy Innocents’ students who work to support the United Nations-founded organization that helps children in developing countries around the world. She was the club’s founder and president.
Johnna joined the Change-A-Life Club during her junior year. Last year, she took over as its president. Her goal was to bring awareness to the state of the children’s lives and help others understand what the students needed to succeed.
Club members tutor Ridgeview students to help them with their school work. They hold bake sales, host school supplies drives and tutor the students. Johnna said the club “is highly committed to ensuring the success of local low-income students.”
Since the club’s creation, it has contributed to a higher graduation rate at Riverwood International Charter School, Johnna said. This fall, the Change-A-Life Club will have its first college attendee who was helped by the program in middle school, she said.
“I’ve become so close with my students, and their success is my success,” Johnna said. “They remind me of what’s important and not to take life too seriously. Becoming an active part of their community and having the opportunity to positively influence these students’ lives has been the most rewarding experience of my high school career.”
Johnna said her volunteer work has helped her take less about her life for granted. After experiencing the situations that these students deal with daily, she and fellow club members have a new appreciation for their own circumstances.
“It never ceases to amaze us to see Johnna’s passion and dedication to better the lives of our at-risk children in our community,” said Felix Lora, director of the Sandy Springs Mission, another group Johnna has worked with as a volunteer. “She would do anything possible to see these children succeed academically. She is an amazing young leader!”
She moved from California to Atlanta in the summer of 2012, just before her freshman year. She was used to the West Coast active lifestyle and continued that through membership in her school’s cross-country and soccer teams. She also said she takes at least two hikes every week.
Johnna says she plans to follow her humanitarian work after she finishes college.
Johnna will be attending Emory University. She plans to pursue a major in global health and eventually a graduate degree in public health.
This article was reported and written by Sam Wimpfheimer, a rising senior at The Galloway School.