Cedar Hill ISD Hilltop Academy Graduate Thankful For Opportunity

man and woman with student in graduation gown

(CEDAR HILL, TEXAS) Imani Jeffrey-Johnson overcame obstacles and turned her life around over the past year.

The 17-year-old recently graduated from Hilltop Academy, a Cedar Hill ISD program that allows scholars to earn credits at their pass and overcome challenges to graduate.

Jeffrey-Johnson became the program’s 13th graduate since the beginning of the 2023-2024 academic school year.

“A lot of times, people (outside of school) would say you’re not going to amount to anything,” Jeffrey-Johnson said. “That gave me the drive to keep going. I heard about different careers and that motivated me to do something with my life – to be somebody. Without Hilltop Academy, I wouldn’t have graduated. I definitely wouldn’t have graduated on time.”

Jeffrey-Johnson was a member of the Cedar Hill High School Class of 2024 and transferred to Hilltop at the beginning of her junior year. She was behind on credits and didn’t immediately become engaged academically when she arrived.

Hilltop Principal William Petty, who was an Associate Principal at CHHS during Jeffrey-Johnson’s freshman and sophomore years there, said she’s become “the model scholar” on the campus.

“She’s overcome a lot of obstacles,” Petty said. “Her attitude about what she’s going to do in life has changed.”

Jeffrey-Johnson plans on joining the United States Air Force and then earning Bachelor’s degrees in Business and Culinary Arts, respectively. She loves to cook, especially pasta and steak.

Jeffrey-Johnson is a lifelong Longhorn who previously attended Highlands Elementary School and Permenter Middle School.

Around her fifth grade year, Jeffrey-Johnson got into numerous altercations.

“It was probably because of some of the stuff I dealt with at home,” Jeffrey-Johnson said.

Since enrolling at Hilltop, Jeffrey-Johnson has faced transportation challenges. She used to walk two to three miles, each way, to school, so that she’d be present and on time.

She recently moved and began taking the bus to Hilltop Academy.

While Hilltop has provided the tools for Jeffrey-Johnson to succeed academically, she credits her strong Christian faith with giving her a peaceful mindset to handle any challenge that comes her way.

“I started believing in 2020, but I surrendered my life to Christ last summer,” Jeffrey-Johnson said. “I’m a changed woman – mentally, spiritually and emotionally.”

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