My name is Katy Johnson and I am from San Antonio, TX. I have recently accepted a position for next year at Swarthmore College where I will assist the Director of Writing in running the Swarthmore’s Writing Program. I will both run the administrative aspects of the program and assist students at the college in improving their writing and public speaking skills.
What do the Bonner Shoes mean to me?? Here is a response I wrote reflecting on the shoes. I hope it proves helpful to you. Rhodes has been such an incredible part of my life and I wish you the very best in sharing the mission of the college with others.
On May 14, thirteen dear friends and I will dance across the Rhodes College Commencement Stage in a long line of graduates, and we will all be wearing our bright red shoes: the Bonner Shoes— our promise to walk loudly through life. Most graduation honors are a celebration of what we Rhodes Students have accomplished during our four years of college, the Bonner Shoes are a celebration of what we have yet to achieve.
Of course, Bonner has provided us all with the incredible opportunities to serve with nonprofit organizations throughout Memphis. Among many service experiences, I recall the work I joined in with Casa Maria, the Med, Souper Contact, Youth Villages, and Bridges Peace Jam. I will be forever grateful for the service in which I was privileged to engage and especially for the ways that Bonner equipped me to serve as a volunteer and later a program coordinator and department intern at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. St. Jude not only provided me with the joy of serving children as they fight life threatening diseases, but also entrusted me with improving overall patient care at the hospital. As a Bonner at St. Jude, I learned that I matter to every child I make laugh, every volunteer I help train, every administrator who reads my program reports.
Those lessons are written into the fabric of my Red Bonner Shoes. But more than that, the Bonner Shoes remind me of the influence that I possess as I engage with the world around me. My Red Shoes are there for the days when I need to remember that my convictions matter and my dreams are worth pursuing and I can speak against injustice and neglect. My Bonner Shoes remind me that Rhodes believes that I can bring life and light and hope to the wounded and oppressed. I feel no higher sense of honor and gratitude than what stirs inside of me as I eagerly anticipate wearing the Red Shoes and walking loudly with my friends into the life for which Rhodes and the Bonner Program has so marvelously prepared us.