While in elementary school, Navante Johnson became involved with OpenDoors through friends and family. OpenDoors provided him with an assessment that identified undiagnosed learning differences, and then arranged specialized tutoring, after school care, and access to a variety of enrichment programs and opportunities. Navante has an amazing mom, and Nicole and Matt Baker, who are his volunteer OpenDoors Team Leaders, have been particularly resourceful and supportive. Navante graduated from Carolina Day School in the spring. We talked to him as part of the OpenDoors 10th Anniversary “10 Years, 10 People” series, as he was preparing to start his freshman year at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.
Question: What do you like to study?
NJ: I’ve always been fascinated by science and I’m really good at biology and chemistry.
Q: What do you want to do with your education?
NJ: I want to be a dentist.
Q: I guess your love of science helps with that?
NJ: Yes, I had a talk with my biology teacher and she told me that the stuff you learn in biology will help in dental school.
Q: Was that a pleasant surprise?
NJ: I was kind of shocked that it corresponds with a job I would like to do for life.
Q: That’s awesome, and now you’re headed off to college?
NJ: I was accepted to many state schools in North Carolina. But with what UNC-Greensboro offered it all just played out in my best interest, and I really like the UNC-G campus.
Q: Have you ever lived that far away from home?
NJ: No, but I’m not going to be homesick or anything. I have friends and cousins and uncles and family in Greensboro. I mean it will be a big adjustment. But I rely on a lot of people.
Q: To be self-reliant you need reliable people in your life.
NJ: A lot of people have helped me for a long time, starting in middle school. My mom helps. If she isn’t able to then Nicole steps up. When Nicole can’t, then Matt does. It’s like a big family. We all just make it work.
Q: Your mom must be really proud of you.
NJ: Yes, she is.
Q: Well, congratulations. I think you’re going to love UNC-G and that UNC-G is going to be glad they picked you.
NJ: Thanks, I think I’m going to like it, too.