My Black Brother, Part Two

A while back, I wrote about Cavonte Johnson, who was taken in by my parents a few years ago. Today, Cavonte will give the speech at his high school commencement, graduating with honors from Edina High School. He’s also been awarded the Gates Millennium Scholarship and several other scholarships, meaning that his education will be fully funded all the way through a Ph.D., should he choose to pursue one.

Over the weekend, the StarTribune published a wonderful article on Cavonte and my parents, and a truly moving video. If you need a day brightener, I encourage you to watch it.

Cavonte Johnson walked into Sarah and Doug Jones’ Edina home and flopped on to their couch, an arm draped across his forehead and eyes closed.

“I want to go home,” the fourth-grader thought, ignoring the Christmas party going on around him.

Home had been a moving target for Cavonte, who’d been shuffled among foster homes and relatives since he was 2.

But Sarah Jones saw potential in the struggling, sullen boy who was barely able to read. Years later, he moved in with the couple, who nurtured his impressive math talents.

On Monday, Cavonte will graduate from Edina High School as an award-winning top scholar with a chance to play college football next year.

His transition from troubled kid to superstar student wasn’t easy, but Cavonte never thought about giving up. “I don’t make excuses,” said Cavonte, 18, one of two students chosen to speak at commencement.

“That’s the motto I try to live by. No excuses.”

via Edina teen triumphs over trouble with graduation |

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  • Christopher Hibma

    Great piece, Tony. What a moving story.

  • You know I love this Tony and you know why.

  • Mary

    Thanks for sharing this, Tony. You both have awesome folks!

  • Tim

    That’s incredible – I remember when you first posted about Cavonte, still among my favorite things you’ve shared.

  • Beautiful story, thanks for sharing Tony. Hope this lingers with me right into my 60’s!