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Alesia Johnson, far right, with her "Seven Year Advantage" classmates, all of whom attended Bishop Dunne Catholic School from 6th through 12th grade.

Bishop Dunne’s Seven Year Advantage: College Acceptance, Scholarships

Alesia Johnson came to Bishop Dunne from Fellowship Christian School in Oak Cliff, one of the first 6th grade students to attend the newly-formed grade at Bishop Dunne. On May 22, 2015, she graduated with her senior class, including a dozen students who also became Falcons, back in the fall of 2008.

“The Seven Year Advantage” is what these students experienced, and as a result, Alesia and her classmates are all well prepared for college.

Alesia had her choice of four schools, all of which accepted her: Spellman, Baylor, St. John’s in New York, and Iowa State.

Active in after school activities, including cheerleading, track, the Fellowship of Christian Athletes Club, and being a founding member of the “Sounds of Bishop Dunne” Gospel Choir, Alesia said she had a secret when she first arrived at Bishop Dunne.

“My father was the Dean of Students, and when people asked me, I’d pretend he wasn’t!” she admits with a laugh now. “So whenever I was called down to the dean’s office, the kids were like, ‘Oh, she’s in trouble again!’ But I never was. My dad just had to talk to me about something.”

Before long she realized the gig was up – her classmates could see the resemblance between the two - and hear it. Her father, Walter Johnson, was a professional singer before becoming the Dean of Students at Dunne, where he graduated from in 1981. Alesia, like her father, has an accomplished singing voice, and a smile that can light up a room. Her mother, Lisa, also sings, “And she says that’s where I get my good voice from!” Alesia said with a laugh. In fact, her parents met in church choir. “The Sounds of Bishop Dunne” Gospel Choir is what Alesia says she’s most proud of in her high school career. That – and her good GPA: she completed her career with a perfect 4.0.

That high average put Alesia in the top ten percent of her senior class. Her classmates aren’t surprised. Most of her best friends at Bishop Dunne are also in the top ten, including Salutatorian Le’Bria Ware and the #3 student in the senior class, Jared Alex, both of whom are headed to college on scholarships.

A member of the track team all seven years, Alesia ran the 400 meter and 200 meter races and the 4x400 relay. She was also in the National Art Society for all four years in high school, following her membership in the Junior National Honor Society, and was a member of the African-American Awareness Club, the Student Council, Bishop Dunne Ambassadors, and FBLA. At graduation, she was awarded the Golden Falcon for Art, the highest honor bestowed by the faculty on the student who exemplifies the best in a particular area of study.

Her track coach, Isaac Bell says, “She is one of the most respectful, confident, and genuine students that I have been around.”

Alesia is also an avid community volunteer, having served at Genesis Women’s Shelter, the American Heart Association, North Texas Food Bank, Hearts and Hammers, St. Elizabeth’s Catholic School, and Mark Twain Elementary.

Her course load was impressive: she took seven AP classes including Language and Composition, U.S. History, World History, Government, Economics, Statistics, and Studio Art and seven pre-AP courses. “My hardest year was senior year, when I had five AP classes,” she said, “and I enjoyed AP Government the most! But all my classes – and teachers – were great.”
Alesia’s ultimate goal is to become a teacher, and she plans to be as inspiring as those she took classes from at Bishop Dunne. But, unlike her father, she doesn’t plan to return to her alma mater. She explains, “I just really love little kids.” She may have a  special place in her heart for elementary school because she met one of her best friends of her class of 2015 there, Travis Cook,  in the second grade. He’s headed to Texas Lutheran University on a scholar-athlete scholarship for football. But Alesia is also the oldest of three, and she admits she’s enjoyed growing up with two little brothers, Walter and Nicholas, both of whom attend Bishop Dunne.

Alesia is just one of the success stories at Bishop Dunne. The first group of 6th graders to matriculate up through graduation, a top ten percent student, well prepared for college, and life beyond. She’s proof there is a “Seven Year Advantage” to beginning her college career at age eleven.

Eleven of the twelve students who began their Bishop Dunne experience together in 6th grade have already determined where they will study this fall, with eight accepted to multiple colleges, and offered full or multiple merit scholarships; six of the twelve received a Golden Falcon award for excellence in a particular area of study or club, chosen by the faculty as the best among their peers.

Seven Year Advantage 2015 graduates include:

Luke Athens - University of Oklahoma, University of Colorado Boulder, University of Alabama, University of Houston, Oklahoma State University, University of Arkansas, and University of Kansas

Abigail Austin - University of Iowa, Baylor University, Savannah College of Art and Design, Southern Methodist University, and University of North Texas

Alejandro Flores - Richland College
Jake Gardner - Golden Falcon for Technology; Magna Cum Laude, Brookhaven College

Alesia Johnson – Golden Falcon for Art; Iowa State University, Spelman College, and Baylor University, St. John’s University, and Cynthia A. Allen Memorial Scholarship

Liliane Montano - Baylor University
Jarod Moser - Marcus Somerstein Scholarship; Karen Collins Award; Dorothy M. Moser Award; Seton Hall College, NJ.
Abbey Patrick – Golden Falcon for Child Development; University of Iowa, Texas A&M University, Baylor University, and St. John’s University

Alex Ray – Golden Falcon for Campus Ministry; Mountain View College
Catherine Sellers – Golden Falcon for Spirit; Baylor University and Texas Christian University

Micah Simon - Golden Falcon for Best Male Athlete, Brigham Young University (full athletic scholarship)
Will Adams – Still deciding what college he’ll be attending this fall

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