By Jessica Easthope
It started as a normal day at school for 11-year-old Shaheen Johnson.
He never suspected that while sitting in his sixth grade ELA class at St. Clare Catholic Academy in Rosedale, he’d have the shock of a lifetime.
“I was so shocked, words cannot describe how I’m feeling right now,” Johnson said. “I am so happy. This is a great accomplishment.”
Johnson sold the most Tablet newspaper subscriptions of any student in the Diocese of Brooklyn during the newspaper’s fundraiser for Catholic schools.
John Alexander, the paper’s marketing and circulation manager presented him with the grand prize, a check for $3,000, on Wednesday, Nov. 1.
“I want to be a business owner when I grow up so it was great practice,” Johnson said. “I told them the prices. I persuaded some of them because you have to use certain tactics to get them to do something, but still I got them.”
For every $25 subscription sold the student gets $10 and their school gets $10. Shaheen’s classmate Catleya Carnakie-Brown was the fundraiser’s third place winner.
“I was ecstatic, I didn’t know what to say,” Carnakie-Brown said. “I was just … that was a great moment for me and I’m going to treasure that for the longest time.”
Alexander said having the job of presenting the checks year after year never gets old and the fundraiser’s mission continues to take on new meaning for students.
“I really can’t tell you how rewarding and how heartening it is to see the look on these kids’ faces when you present them with a check for something they earned, something they put a lot of work into,” Alexander said. “This isn’t being done by any stretch for money, this is being done for evangelization and for trying to spread the word of Catholic journalism and a paper that we’re very proud of and that’s why I want to give back. That’s what it’s all about.”