Jul 09, 2020

Student Q&A with Scott Johnston

Brianna Campbell / The Collegian

Scott Johnston, a California State University, Fresno student, has a very positive outlook in life that was brought on by the things he has achieved despite his disability.

Johnston has cerebral palsy, a condition that requires him to do his daily routines in a motorized wheelchair. But beyond the wheelchair, he is a student who has an active lifestyle.

Johnston, a 22-year-old mass communication and journalism student, said he wants to pursue a career in sports broadcasting.

His involvement with Break The Barriers, an inclusion nonprofit organization with programs such as gymnastics, dance, martial arts and sign language, helps him maintain an active lifestyle.

Johnston, a passionate martial artist, studies the arts of tae kwon do. With his mentor, Phil Johnson, they started up a martial arts program for people in wheelchairs. Having helped design the curriculum, Johnston hopes to start his own program for people with disabilities and those without.

Q: What did you want to be when you were younger?

A: I went through a phase where I wanted to be a choir director because I was really involved in music. I sang from 5th grade through high school, so I thought I wanted to do that until one night I was watching Monday Night Football, I was hearing the sports broadcaster, and I thought to myself, “that might not be a bad way to make a living.” I also wanted to be a football coach when I was younger. I thought it might be something fun to do.

Q: If you had superpowers, what would they be?
A: The power to fly or time travel!

Q: What is your biggest pet peeve?
A: I have three pet peeves: working on group projects where some people don’t pull their weight, people who are so into themselves and I find it annoying when I’m behind people and they start walking as slowly as possible in front of me.

Q: What would people find surprising about you?
A: Probably that I’m a martial artist and I’m someone who is willing to try everything and anything. People see my disability and they think I’m limited so they would sometimes be hesitant to ask me to do certain things, but I’m open about my disability. It’s all right for people to ask me than stereotype me.

Q: Who is the most influential person in your life?

A: My mom. She has taught me to not let my disability stop me from doing anything I wanted to do.

Q: What do you do in your spare time?
A: I watch sports, I talk about sports and I play sports video games. I keep up with the San Francisco 49ers for football, and for baseball, people find it weird that I follow the Angels more than I do the Giants. I also practice martial arts, listen to music and hang out with my friends in my spare time.

Q: What are you passionate about?
A: I’m passionate about life. My disability has given me a different perspective, and it’s something that I’m really thankful for. When I used to speak in high schools, a lot of people would ask do I ever think about when I would be able to walk, but I don’t think about the “what ifs.” If it happens, it happens. I’m just living life the best I can. Other than life, I’m passionate about my friends and family.

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