Jackson Park Teacher Appears on the Jennifer Hudson Show
The Jennifer Hudson Show recently awarded Jackson Park Elementary School $10,000 after second grade teacher Shumsheia Johnson was completely surprised and called up on stage to chat with Jennifer Hudson during a taping of her talk show earlier this year.
In late January, Johnson was shopping online for tickets to the Los Angeles show to surprise her daughter with a spring break trip to Los Angeles for her 16th birthday. The show was sold out, but Ms. Johnson noticed a message on the show’s website for teachers. She clicked a link and filled out a questionnaire about what teaching and her school meant to her. She said she hoped Ms. Hudson could send an inspirational message to the school and students, particularly after so many of them were impacted by severe flooding in University City last summer.
A few days later, Johnson was able to obtain tickets for the show’s taping in early February. Little did she know, she would be called out of the audience to be a guest on the show talking with Hudson about teaching and her love for her students and Jackson Park. She was a natural!
She also didn’t know that several of her past and current students would present taped messages to her that were aired during the 10 minute segment.
“You help me with everything I need help with,” said one student.
“Thank you for helping me with my math. You’re the best math teacher ever,” said another.
“You made second grade one of the best times I ever had,” said a former student. “You also made me want to come to school every single day.”
The show was televised on February 22. Johnson’s class and several other students and teachers celebrated with a private viewing in the school library. Near the end of the segment, Ms. Hudson announced that the show would be giving Jackson Park Elementary School the cash gift. It was a complete surprise to Principal Rebecca O’Connell and Superintendent Sharonica Hardin-Bartley who were also at the viewing. There were so many cheers! But, by far, the highlight was Ms. Johnson first making her Jackson Park Heart with her hands in front of a national television audience and then reciting the school motto: JP: We’re the heart of Jackson Park.
“The students are at the heart of what we do, so we put our hearts into everything we do at Jackson Park,” she told Hudson to a loudly applauding audience.
Johnson told Hudson her motivation for teaching, especially during COVID-19 and hard times, is spiritual.
“When God gives you purpose, and you really walk in it, he will bless you.”
Ms. Johnson and her daughter are now revising their spring break plans. Instead of a trip to L.A., they are planning a five-night stay at a Kalahari Resort water park courtesy of the show!