We are celebrating! Dr. Terry Johnsson, a PAA graduate of 1985 and a beloved friend, was recently awarded the 2018 Lifetime Achievement Award from the city of Portland. The award was presented to him at the 33rd Anniversary Celebration of the “Keep Alive the Dream” by the World Arts Foundation. Terry was selected from among more than 400 candidates throughout Oregon to receive the award. His life story is a testament to faith, prayer, and a life of determination. (Watch the ceremony and program HERE and click to 3:48:45 to see Terry’s segment.)
As a child, little Terry was in and out of many schools and told he would likely never succeed. He had severe dyslexia and attention problems during a time when learning disabilities were not understood and meaningful help could not be offered. Many teachers and principals encouraged him to drop out of school.
But eventually, Terry ended up at PAA. With the faith of his praying mother and the help of loving teachers like Thelma Winter, whom Johnsson calls “a teacher with a capital ‘T,'” Terry went on to live a truly remarkable and successful life!
Not only did Terry finish high school at PAA, but he went on to receive two college degrees from Oakwood University, a graduate degree from La Sierra University, and finally a doctoral degree from Wesley Theological Seminary!
Dr. Johnsson was the first African-American from Oregon to serve as a U.S. Air Force Presidential Honor Guard at the White House for three United States Presidents.
Today he serves as VP for Mission Integration at Adventist Health Pacific Northwest Region where he is making a meaningful difference in the daily lives of our community and beyond.
But beyond the accolades and fame, we know Terry as a down-to-earth, funny guy who gives great hand-shakes and warm hugs. He was our featured guest speaker at alumni weekend last year, he often speaks at PAA chapels to inspire our students to cherish their education, and last summer he shared a powerful address at the memorial service for PAA legacy teacher
Thelma Winter, his “capital ‘T’ teacher.” We are grateful that, no matter how GREAT Dr. Johnsson becomes, a sincere love shines out of him and demonstrates that value we strive to inspire in our students: to be Christ-centered and character-driven.
God bless our friend, Dr. Terry Johnsson!