Colbi Johnson is an Alice Lloyd College sophomore who is a Knott County, Kentucky native seizing the opportunity to be a force of change in Central Appalachia by becoming a servant leader. A 2016 graduate of Hazard High School, she excelled in both academic and athletic pursuits. Colbi was offered scholarships to a wide array of schools; however, based upon her mother’s experiences at Alice Lloyd College, she knew that there was a local school where she could “stay close, yet go far.” One of the most important people in her life is her grandfather, who has been living with an illness for the past few years. Being close to home allows Colbi to visit her grandfather throughout the week. Her grandfather has been her inspiration; spending time with him and keeping their bond strong inspires her to always do her best.
Doing her best goes beyond the classroom. Colbi’s desire to excel in all aspects of her college career extends to her involvement in the Student Work Program. In describing her experiences with the Student Work Program, Colbi said, “During my first year of college, I worked as a teacher’s assistant for the June Buchanan School. This year I was selected to serve as a teacher assistant for my history instructor, Dr. Stephen Wilson. This job is perfect for me since I am a History Pre-Law major. The guidance, support, and high expectations Dr. Wilson has given me are excellent examples of Mrs. Lloyd’s Purpose Road Philosophy. He had business cards created for me to promote the persona of professionalism in the workplace. He has also given me the wonderful opportunity to do research and assist him with the book he is writing about the history of Alice Lloyd College. In addition, the Work Study Program, with Dr. Wilson’s guidance, has taught me independence and leadership qualities that I could not have gained at another college.” Colbi’s useful talents and experiences go beyond that of being an office aid.
During the 2017-2018 school year, she was vital in organizing and executing the 2nd annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade. According to her supervisor Dr. Wilson, “Colbi is a young lady that is always giving her all. She even keeps me on task because of her organizational skills. Without her, this parade would not have been what it was.” An opportunity for a student to form a close bond with their professors is a unique aspect of ALC and allows the students to develop traits of leadership and civic involvement.
Such attributes are extremely important to Colbi because of her dream to become a lawyer with a focus on Child Advocate Law. As a young adult, she knows that to be her best she has to give her all saying, “I am already studying for the Law School Admission Test (LSAT) because if I want to be the best I must lay the groundwork now.” She wants to come back to the region and give a voice to children who often are voiceless and lost in the system. Her goal is a way for her to assist in changing countless lives and continue the Alice Lloyd College tradition of service leadership. For Colbi, giving back to her home county is a family tradition that began with her beloved grandfather and his long history of public service to the community. The tradition continues with her mother, who has been a teacher for decades working to inspire the young men and women of this area to gain an education to better their lives and their communities as a whole. Colbi plans to attend the University of Kentucky and follow in the footsteps of her family by serving her local community. Looking at her history shows a family who, through action and deeds, has walked the Purpose Road and understands the power of duty, conscience, and purpose—pillars of a life of servant leadership.
Colbi summed up her beliefs about the College and its impact on not only her but also her mother by saying, “I believe the service Alice Lloyd College provides to the Appalachian region is invaluable. In a region that struggles for economic growth, one bright light we have unto these mountains is this amazing institution.” Colbi plans on being one of the beacons of light that brings prosperity, bliss, and purpose to the region through her many acts of service. Thus, preparing a path for future generations to walk down.