April 11, 2013
Jacqueline Johnson, a dedicated equestrian, Christian, baker and friend, is graduating in May and will be greatly missed. Johnson, a senior from Costa Mesa, Calif., is leaving Georgia with a degree in Avian Biology and dreams of one day becoming an Equine Veterinarian. During her past four years, Johnson has made her mark on this team. Looking back on her time here, Johnson believes that her greatest accomplishment was starting the equestrian team Bible study. She says, “I feel like I am leaving a group of girls who have been challenged to grow in their faith and they will continue to do so after I leave.”
Johnson admits that the greatest challenge she faced throughout the last four years was balancing her difficult classes, the team and her personal life. During her freshman year, Johnson decided she needed a change in life and wanted to focus more on God, her schoolwork and the team. “It was a painful process, sometimes lonely and frustrating, but ultimately I am so grateful for that experience,” says Johnson, “I can now be confident in my identity in Christ and I don’t fear the opinions of others.” When things were stressful for Johnson, she found an outlet in baking. Her talents in the kitchen are well known amongst the team, especially in the dessert department. Johnson says, “It’s just a small gift I can share with people that truly gives me joy.”
When asked who inspires her the most today, Johnson immediately responds that her mother and Jill Perry are her most influential role models. “My mom is one of the most amazing women I know,” she says, “She is committed to her faith, has taught me so much about life and continues to inspire me to serve others.” Jill Perry, one of the women’s chaplains from the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, has also helped mentor and direct Johnson through her process of starting the team bible study. Johnson says, “I want to learn to listen to people the way Jill does and make an intentional day to day choice to be available to the people in my life.”
In addition to winning a National Championship her freshman year, Johnson says her best memory at the University of Georgia was when she was researching for Dr. Kelsey Hart at the College of Veterinary Medicine. “We collected data from foals and I got to be there for a couple of foalings in the middle of the night,” says Johnson, “It was incredible!” On December 14, 2013, Johnson will be getting married to Josh Parrish who proposed to her on her annual mission trip to the Grand Canyon in the fall of 2012. Johnson and Parrish have many ambitions for their new lives together throughout the next decade. In addition to working for an equine veterinary practice, Johnson hopes to own a small farm, horses and her own bakery someday. While this may seem ambitious for some, with Johnson’s incredible dedication and love, no one doubts she will have it all.