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Mississippi College

MC Doctoral Student and McLaurin High Math Teacher Brad Johns Seeks Cystic Fibrosis Scholarship

August 29, 2013

People can vote for Mississippi College educational leadership doctoral student Brad Johns in his quest to receive a national scholarship recognizing his lifelong battle against Cystic Fibrosis.

The 41-year-old chairman of the McLaurin High mathematics department, Johns has fought the disease since the age of four months. The voting on-line lasts through September 16.

“It is because of my disease that my family must rely on God for everything,” the Magee resident says. “It is my desire to be one who overcomes so that others may gain strength from my witness,” he says on the Abbvie CF scholarship competition website.

As one of the candidates in the graduate school division, Johns has earned a $2,500 scholarship. There would be $18,500 more coming if the Mississippian wins the national competition. He’s got plenty of backers on his side in the Rankin County School District along with professors and students at Mississippi College.

“Brad Johns is one of the outstanding mathematics educators in Mississippi,” said MC math professor Melinda Gann, who voted for him. “He deeply understands mathematics and loves communicating that understanding to his students.”

In addition, Brad is “a man of great faith and integrity – embodying the integration of faith and learning that Mississippi College encourages in its students,” Gann noted. “He has never allowed Cystic Fibrosis to be his defining characteristic.”

Whether he’s teaching classes on the McLaurin High campus near Florence, taking classes at the MC School of Education, working as a children’s minister at Calvary Baptist Church in Braxton, or spending time with family, Johns goes full speed ahead despite dealing with Cystic Fibrosis.

“He courageously battles its effects while pursuing excellence in all he does,” Gann said.

Cystic Fibrosis causes major problems with respiratory and digestive systems. Most people are diagnosed with the disease before they become one-year-olds. Johns became sick a few months after his birth. He’s fought the disease through medicine, eating healthy foods, exercise and God’s help.

“My faith has played a big role in my fight against Cystic Fibrosis,” Johns said. “The disease not only makes it difficult to breathe, it is also draining financially.”

Winning the scholarship would go a long way to help. Since 1993, the scholarships awarded have amounted to more than $2.4 million to recipients across the USA.

Mississippi College math professor Tommy Leavelle is another educator on the Clinton campus who’s impressed with Brad’s struggles to achieve success despite obstacles in his path.

“Through bad episodes and even hospitalizations, he was in class as much as possible and prepared to learn,” Leavelle said of the McLaurin High teacher who earned his undergraduate, master’s and specialist degrees at Mississippi College. “His love for his family and his students is evident in all that he does. He is not content just to be an average teacher. He challenges his students to become the very best.”

Brad Johns and his wife, Jana, have three children at their home in Simpson County.

Voting in the nationwide contest began August 19. Voting counts for 30 percent. For the remaining 70 percent, judges evaluate the candidates based on their presentations, including art work, and other career achievements.

In 2012, Johns received the National Heroes of Hope Living with Cystic Fibrosis award. He is expected to receive his doctorate from the Mississippi College School of Education by May 2014.

For more information on voting, go to www.abbviecfscholarship.com. People can vote once per cellular device and one time per email address. 

Photo: Brad Johns, doctoral student at Mississippi College and McLaurin High math teacher