Recent View Park graduate Andre Johnson Jr was a member of the rugby program for two years. He was invited to compete in the sport as a freshman.
“It was a rugby class and I had the class with the previous head coach for rugby, he wanted me to try it and I wasn’t so sure at first,” Johnson Jr said. “In tenth grade, I tried it and I enjoyed playing.”
Since he started competing in rugby, Johnson learned skills that can help him on and off the field.
“I felt like I improved on communicating with others, even if I don’t have a really close bond with them,” Johnson Jr said.
During his senior year, he led the underclassmen by example. When they need help understanding aspects of the game, Johnson would coach them.
“I found myself being a leader by basically just setting an example in practice,” Johnson Jr said. “So nobody wants to step up and do something, I’ll step up and show them how it’s done.”
Johnson Jr knows that being a successful student starts with a dedication to schoolwork. His favorite class is history. To keep his grades up, Johnson Jr gets his assignments done at school.
“[I] hand in my homework, classwork, anything that has to do with school first,” he said. “After school, focusing on sports and how I will perform during that sport.”
Along with rugby, Johnson Jr competed in football and track and field during his time at View Park. In track, he ran the 100m and 200m; both sports help Johnson Jr with rugby in different ways.
“For track, I’ll say, just keep running through,” Johnson Jr said. “For football, I’d say just make your moment special. Whenever you get the ball, trying to make a play.”
Outside of athletics and academics, Johnson serves as an usher at New Philadelphia AME Church. He enjoys helping the people who attend his church.
“I’ve been ushering since I was 11,” Johnson Jr said.
In the future, he wants to play college football and study computer science.
“At home, nobody really knows how to work in technology but me,” Johnson Jr said. “If I can be a professional at that, I can help my family and others who don’t know how to use technology.”