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Caden Johnson - Mighty perseverance at Merancas

​Caden Johnson attends MMCH. 

At Merancas Middle College High, all classes are at the Advanced Placement level, and students earn college credits through a partnership with Central Piedmont Community College. Senior Caden Johnson attended Merancas ready to tackle the school’s high expectations head-on after first attending Hough High.

Caden played soccer for almost a decade but made the important decision his senior year to stop playing as he prepared for his future. “Through the past year, I have been doing one-on-one goalkeeper coaching for high school students. I have been helping students learn more about the game and the position. I really enjoy coaching because it gives me a reason to play soccer again,” he said.

Besides mentoring younger soccer players, Caden is passionate about art. “My reason for loving art was the idea of creating something from nothing. With my favorite medium, spray paint, you are not only able to do that, but also take a mess and turn it into something beautiful,” Caden said. 

“He’s an amazingly talented artist,” said Merancas teacher Kimberly Palmer. “He has passion we don’t often see in students.”

Caden also turned his personal challenges into beautiful art. “I have some dyslexia and I have always struggled with writing, but with certain teachers’ classes, I was able to finally get the help I needed, and everything started to click. Now thanks to them, I am very confident in my writing,” he said. He credits his teachers – Palmer, Tiffany Walston and Henrietta Madden – for helping him persevere.

He’s also navigated tough personal waters, crediting his mom, as well as his coaches, for helping him reach the finish line.

“In my sophomore year, I received a severe concussion and had an extremely painful headache and dizziness that lasted half a year. I ended up dropping many classes that year and had to complete a few completely on my own,” he said.

“My mom was my rock; she was right there with me and believed in me,” said Caden.

At school, he had the support of teachers and coaches.

“My coach, Jason Strange, helped me through some depression I had my senior year and really opened my eyes. I will never forget it,” he said. “He taught me to not be so hard on myself. At the time, I was a perfectionist so this really helped me through some dark times.”

Caden will graduate with an associate’s degree in computer science and intends to pursue an accelerated master’s degree in computer engineering at N.C. State University. He said his future would not have been possible without the support he received in high school.

“I never imagined I would be so close with all of my teachers and even my principal. I had such an amazing experience at Merancas Middle College High School,” Caden said.

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