How does Kyla Johnson do it all?

An inside look at this student’s demanding balancing act

Photo+by+Esme+Harkess

Photo by Esme Harkess

by Ursula Stickelmaier, staff

A student with a packed schedule, a busy life, and a brain that could outsmart us all, senior Kyla Johnson has certainly made an impact during her time at Shorewood.

She has participated in many clubs and activities such as Cross Country, Science Olympiad, and Interact Club. In addition to all the activities she does at school, Johnson is also a dedicated student and is enrolled in five AP classes at the moment. Johnson also recently became a semi-finalist for the National Merit Scholarship.

The National Merit Scholarship (NMSC) is prestigious with only 16,000 semifinalists being chosen based on their academic performance in the PSATs and SATs. After having online school for the past year, Johnson was still unsure if she would even get the chance to take the SATs this year.

“I know it was kind of iffy if we would even get a chance to do that because of COVID, so I’m just glad I got the chance to take the SATs,” she said. With COVID, taking the SATs was kind of last minute but for Johnson just getting the chance was a nice surprise.

Academically, Johnson juggles five AP classes. “It can definitely be challenging but… if you love everything you do you can make it work,” Johnson said. One of the AP classes she is taking this year is AP Environmental Sciences and Johnson hopes to pursue something in the science and STEM field.

Throughout it all, her friends have been a big help. “All my friends inspire me,” Johnson said. In fact, one of her friends, Yubi Mamiya, also made it to the semi-finals of the NMSC and Johnson says that it has been fun to get that together. But her friends haven’t just been supportive in the classroom, they’ve been supportive on the field as well. “At Shorewood there’s a great team atmosphere in cross country,” she said.

After four years of cross country and two years of running at Einstein, Johnson is currently one of the team captains along with Ada Franey, Luca Fenlason and Drew Nelson. With the commitment that is being cross country captain and everything she’s got going on outside of that there is a lot on Johnson’s plate. “Even though it can get stressful at times I know it will be worth it,” she said.

Her leadership skills don’t just end at cross country as Johnson is currently vice president of Science Olympiad and is thinking about majoring in a science-related field when she gets to college. “Hopefully I’ll have a career that concerns science,” says Johnson. With her future in mind, Johnson has been looking at colleges all over the country. “I’m applying to a plethora of colleges,” says Johnson. And while she may not be sure of where she wants to go just yet, she does know that she wants STEM to be part of her future.

To do what she has done in only four years is a big accomplishment. For anyone looking to accomplish even half as much as she has, Johnson has some parting words:  “I encourage you to reach for your goals. Even if you don’t always succeed it’s definitely not the end of the world.”