Guest speaker Anthony Johnson inspires students with personal journey

As is tradition during Trinity College School’s annual Week Without Walls, each year the service learning office hosts a special guest speaker. This year, while the week of service beyond the School’s walls was not possible due to COVID-19, the community still gathered virtually on Wednesday, December 2nd, 2020, to welcome our second guest speaker of the year, Anthony Johnson. As an artist, poet, photographer and much more, Mr. Johnson shared his take on different aspects people face in life.

As he and his husband were the first two-spirit team to take part in (and win) the Amazing Race Canada, he openly shared his journey, the hardships that were faced as well as the important lessons that he took from that experience. He explained that it is important to “be inspired by others, but not compare yourself to them.”

He is now involved with activism and community engagement in the hopes of promoting happiness and touching the lives of the people he interacts with. As a member of the Navajo Nation, Mr. Johnson grew up in a small town but moved to Texas in the seventh grade where he was exposed to people from many different walks of life and learned that everyone has something unique to offer. He went on to graduate from Harvard University, and today devotes his life to helping and inspiring others.

He spoke to the students about knowing what their next steps are, not that their plan has to be perfect or exact, but to be unafraid to focus on your own goals and what you want to do. This includes pushing through fears or the doubts of others, and acknowledging your own truth. He also stressed the importance of looking after yourself and maintaining your health, including mental wellness. And he spoke of the value in asking for help when you need it. He mentioned that we should focus on the things that are within our control – the hours we put in, our attitude and effort. Failure must be accepted and shouldn’t define who we are.

Ultimately, Mr. Johnson encouraged students to find something they are passionate about, something that makes them feel engaged and excited. Find out who you are and what is important to you, he stressed. And measure success not in material terms or external rewards, but in spiritual (internal) terms. In this respect, he echoed the theme of living a life of purpose and service that is at the core of the TCS mission statement.

- By Natasha Pinto (Grade 12 student) and Mrs. Vikki Armstrong (communications manager)