From the very first note, you can sense there’s something special.
With instrument in hand, 16-year-old Jahkee Johnson is the most unlikely member of a high school marching band when the Cedar Grove Saints come marching in Friday night under the lights.
The state champs on the field find their inspiration off the field, but no one expected this, a marching band member with no legs.
“If you tell him he can’t do something, he’s going to prove you and show you that he can,” Jahkee’s Mom Teira Johnson said.
Born with a rare disease that forced him to amputate his legs, Jahkee never misses a beat. And while up in the stands with Jahkee’s biggest fan, you can see pure joy on his Mom’s face.
“He practices at home, he practices all the time, he practices. He watches videos on YouTube of other bands, he’s always practicing,” Teira Johnson said.
“It takes a lot of heart. To be in a marching band it takes heart and pride,” Jahkee Johnson said.
And while Jahkee faces more challenges than most:
“They help me out. They tell me when I’m wrong,” Jahkee Johnson said.
He is also mentally tough.
“He’s always been very confident and since he was young we always said we’re not going to treat him different. We’re going to treat him as regular as everyone else and that has driven him,” Teira Johnson said.
And the band treats him the same way. No shortcuts, same strenuous routine.
“I don’t like making it about me, I try to make it about the band,” Jahkee Johnson said.
Banding together comes naturally for the Saints.
“He is a team player, he’s a motivator, team player, yep. You know he motivates others. Look at him, he’s a leader, look at him,” Teira Johnson said.
And through it all, Jahkee has taught us a lesson.
“I’m going to the collegiate level for sure,” Jahkee Johnson said.
No matter what, keep marching on.
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