SUCCESS STORY: Roberta DeProspero-Johnston: Champion

 by Suzanna Bowser, Health Assistant Class of 2018 -- senior Journalism final article

“The way to develop self-confidence is to do the thing you fear and get a record of successful experiences behind you.” ~ William Jennings Bryan

Roberta Deprospero-Johnston attended Lawrence County CTC (formerly known as Vo-Tech) in the early 70’s for cosmetology. Roberta states that during her years here, she started school as a very timid person, but that all changed when she became an active member of VICA/SkillsUSA.  “I was able to overcome my shyness and began to speak comfortably in front of people -- fellow classmates and teachers, alike.”

In her junior year, Roberta accepted the opportunity to compete in the VICA Opening and Closing Ceremony Team, a competition that builds professional presentation skills; participation in this team served her well throughout her career and because of her experiences, she grew to be a strong, confident young woman. In her senior year, Roberta served as President of the Opening and Closing Team. Both years, the team won in state competition which allowed them to go on to national competition.  In that second year, she and her team pushed on to win national gold at the SkillsUSA National Championships in Tulsa, Oklahoma (see image of the team below)! Years later in 2015, she was recognized by being named Honorary Life Member of SkillsUSA (see image below pictured with her husband, Roy, and SkillsUSA Executive Director Tim Lawrence).  Today, Roberta continues to work with SkillsUSA, particularly with Central Regional SkillsUSA Leadership Workshop State and Conference Officer Training and Pennsylvania SkillsUSA.

After graduating in 1973, Roberta continued her education at Penn State University; she credits her English teacher, Ms. Sara Bauman who motivated her to push forward and make every dream a reality.  Roberta eventually graduated from PSU with both a Bachelor’s Degree and served as a cosmetology teacher and then as a Cooperative Education Coordinator.

But her journey wasn’t done with these achievements; this time, she credits Assistant Director for helping her to discover her talent and encouraging her to push beyond to earn her administrative certification.  This allowed her to retire as a Vocational Supervisor! She states, “This [graduate] degree allowed me to move into administration and gave me the opportunity to work with all the students in the school.” Today, she and her family maintain their support of their post-secondary alma mater and continue to be proud Nittany Lions (see image below:  pictured with her husband, Roy)!

Once a shy student, today, Roberta DeProspero-Johnston remains a hands-on champion for career and technical education and SkillsUSA; through her life-long work, she was able to accomplish what makes her truly happy:  “Working with young people to help them reach their full potential and goals.” She embodies the ideas of Dr. Norman Vincent Peale, author of The Power of Positive Thinking and the recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom as he offers this advice:  “Stand UP to your OBSTACLES and DO something about them. YOU will find that they haven’t half of the STRENGTH you think they have!”