WARNER ROBINS, Ga. — One Houston County teacher is making an impact on the lives of his students. Rodney Johnson is the technology teacher at Huntington Middle School.
His students nominated him for the 'Honored' National Teaching Award because of everything he does for them and for the school. He won recognition as this month's recipient.
Rodney Johnson has been walking the hallways of Huntington Middle since the doors first opened in 2005. He isn't just the schools technology teacher, though. He's also the pageant coach, a part-time tutor, a cafeteria volunteer, and what his students and co-workers call the "glue" that holds the school together.
Growing up, Johnson always knew how important it was to work hard because he saw his parents do it everyday, especially his father.
"My father had an earnest wage of working and earning, however, I got to see the side where he worked very hard and my mother always said, 'I want to see you one day, work with your mind... you don't always have to work with your hands.' So, I was compelled in the thought of pleasing that idea to her, but I wanted to make sure that I got a good education," said Johnson.
He graduated from Northside High School in Warner Robins.
"I felt like Houston County schools provided me with everything I needed, so I was really, really happy," he said.
But he wanted to take it a step further. He was determined to get a college education from Fort Valley State University, no matter how long it took.
"I couldn't afford a college. My parents didn't have the money, so I had to put myself through school by working at Arby's. It took me quite a while to do that, so sometimes I saved up, dropped out, and went back when I got the money. I was determined and wanted to see the light at the end of the tunnel," he said.
And he did. Throughout his educational career, he met many people along the way that inspired him to get to where he is now teaching technology at Huntington Middle School.
"I'm so glad that I'm in technology because I wanted to get them interested. I want them to know what they can do to change their own paradigms and own backgrounds and let them know that what they see from their parents doesn't have to be the future for them," said Johnson.
He says teaching in Houston County is a 'full circle moment,' and he will fill whatever roles the school needs him to. It's his way of giving back to his students and pouring into them like his teachers did for him.
Amir Howard, one of the students who nominated him, says Johnson treats him like his own and makes school feel like home.
Along with national recognition, Johnson also received a $5,000 award and a $1,000 gift card for the classroom.