Tatiana Johnson '12
At MBS, Tatiana Johnson ’12 was a talented and well-rounded athlete who earned All-Conference honors and set records in basketball, volleyball, and track & field before she played Division I basketball for the University of Rhode Island. While Johnson possessed an innate desire to succeed, she got an extra competitive boost from her friendly sibling rivalry with her sister, Shanice Johnson ’10, who was also a remarkable athlete at MBS.
"I loved having an older sister who understood the challenges and work ethic of being an athlete. Shanice and I always had a friendly competition going on. In high school, we teased each other about how she was going Division I for track, yet I had more track awards and records. I was going DI for basketball, yet she had more high school accomplishments in basketball. My Dad placed all of our awards and medals on a wall in our home office. I’m proud to say that I have more awards and medals on that wall than Shanice. I remind her every time we visit home,” she laughed.
While Johnson was a two-time MVP in volleyball and track & field and she finished 5th in the state in shotput as a junior, her true passion was basketball. In her senior year, she became just the 5th player in MBS girls basketball history to score 1,000 points – joining her sister, Shanice, who also reached the milestone. Johnson averaged double digits in points each year at MBS and helped lead the girls basketball team to a School record 16 wins as a sophomore. She credits coaches Mike Sturgeon (girls basketball) and Stephanie Puchalski (track & field) with pushing her to be her best.
“Coach Sturge prepared me for Division I college basketball by holding me accountable to high standards,” she said. “Coach Puchalski was also a stickler, which annoyed me at the time. However, their guidance shaped me into the successful woman that I am today.”
Johnson is also grateful to her teachers at MBS who helped prepare her for college academically. She said she got a jump-start on her career by taking a senior project at a local nursing home, and she learned many effective study skills and habits throughout her days at MBS.
“I would not have succeeded as a student-athlete in college without Morristown Beard’s academic foundation,” she said. “I was in a rigorous nursing program and a member of a DI basketball program that was basically a part- time job. Luckily, I knew how to study, manage time, and felt comfortable communicating with my professors because of my time at MBS. I was well-prepared, and that made the academic transition easy. I graduated Magna Cum Laude from the University of Rhode Island.”
Today, Johnson works as a registered nurse at UCLA Ronald Reagan Medical Center in Los Angeles. She was recently accepted into a BSN to DNP Adult/Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner program and hopes to become an in-patient palliative care nurse practitioner.
Although she is no longer playing sports competitively, Johnson said that athletics have been a truly transformative part of her life.
“Athletics goes beyond the court or the playing field,” said Johnson. “I did not play sports to win awards or become a professional athlete. Athletics taught me teamwork, time management, a strong work ethic, clear communication skills, and discipline. I am a better friend, nurse, and person because of the skills I gained through sports.”