Sabrina Banks Johnson
"It wasn't easy, of course, but I couldn't ask for better professors."
When Sabrina Johnson’s son was in the second grade, she decided to pick up a part-time job on top of her full-time position in the medical field. “I was really involved in my son’s education, so I decided to pursue it further.” She found work in an after school care center, helping young students with their homework, and preparing them for the following week’s assignments.
After nine years of working two jobs, Sabrina left both for a full-time position at the local elementary school. “I worked with a kindergartener who had disabilities - a very brilliant kid - and I was with him for two years. When he moved away, they offered me a full-time job as a pre-K teacher.” For two-and-a-half years, Sabrina enjoyed her full-time school district position, and through the experience she found her dream: opening her own preschool from home.
Encouraged and inspired by her sister, who worked in the school district for over 25 years, Sabrina worked diligently to secure the proper credentials and certifications. She soon realized there was one more missing element: a Bachelor’s degree. After doing some research, Sabrina enrolled in Ashford University’s Bachelor of Arts in Organizational Management online degree program.
The years of attending college online, working full-time, and raising her son and newborn daughter were made more difficult by personal tragedy. She lost her brother to colon cancer, and then lost her sister to breast cancer the next year. “Thank God for Ashford - it took my mind off what I was going through. I also knew that my sister would be proud of me for earning my degree. She was the one who encouraged me while I was in school, so I dedicated my degree to her.”
Before long, Sabrina had submitted her final paper. “It wasn’t easy, of course, but I couldn’t ask for better professors. Some were strict and some were lenient and some were a pain, but that’s what you want. I had a well-rounded group of men and women who helped me achieve my dream.”
And it wasn’t just the professors who helped Sabrina accomplish her goal; it was also her classmates. In 2007, when Sabrina was in her fourth Ashford course, she met Vanessa. “She needed help downloading an assignment, and I told her to call me. She called, and I helped her, and we’ve been friends ever since.” One of Sabrina’s coworkers, Carol, was also at Ashford, and together the three women formed a study group. For four years, they supported and encouraged each other. And then, in April 2011, they graduated together. “Vanessa came from Texas, and Carol and I came from Florida, and we met in Iowa for the commencement. That was the first time I met Vanessa in person. I am so glad I was able to go to graduation - I just had to feel that excitement because I knew I had worked so hard to accomplish this goal.” Of course, earning her Bachelor’s degree was just a piece of a larger goal. Sabrina’s preschool will open in March 2012.