Laurence Manning Academy will be adding a three-room wing to their lower school building in honor of Stephen Johnson III, a sixth-grade student at the school who was diagnosed with a developmental-delay condition and has a learning disability.
Twelve-year-old Stephen was born 13 weeks prematurely, weighing just a little more than one pound at birth. He was in a neonatal intensive care unit for six months and had multiple surgeries. Stephen is the son of Stephen “Sparky” Johnson Jr. and Pamela Johnson. He is a triplet with brother Steve and sister Savannah, and has one younger brother, Skyler.
The addition that LMA will be making is an educational resource center to their lower school wing that will be called Stephen’s Center. It will include three rooms with a large divider, including a multipurpose room for drama and art.
LMA Headmaster Dr. Spencer Jordan said that when children need an opportunity, it is the faculties’ job as educators and Christians to do everything that they can to help them reach their ultimate potential.
“Stephen’s a great illustration of the blessings God brings us,” Jordan said.
Stephen came to LMA in K-5 and began taking classes part-time, as he was still going through therapy and one-on-one instruction outside of school.
Andrea Doubles, a special education teacher, worked with him for several years in school.
Today Stephen takes computer, library, art and P.E. classes with his classmates. He also works with a resource teacher, Michelle Sharpe, learning reading, math and other skills. LMA students and faculty have taken him in as part of their family.
“He’s got the best personality,” Pamela said. “He holds doors for people and is very kind.”
Stephen loves sports. He played on the school’s midget football and midget basketball teams, and plays for a local baseball team. He likes to fish, hunt and ride his golf cart. His favorite subject is math.
Stephen is a member of the Calvary Church of the Nazarene in Sumter.
Joey Godwin, of J.L. Godwin Builders, LLC, is the contractor for Stephen’s Center. Godwin’s wife, Sheree, is a K-5 teacher at the school, and his son J. goes to school with Stephen.
Fundraising for the building project is ongoing. Checks can be made out to LMA Stephen’s Center and mailed to P.O. Box 278, Manning, SC 29102. Any donations are tax-deductible.
For more information, contact Dr. Spencer Jordan or LMA Director of Finance Gloria Holladay at (803) 435-2114.