Faith and Perseverance: SJY’s Johan Perez Lantigua Fulfilling His Dream

One of the very first students to be a part of the Support Jaco Youth program is currently on his way to fulfilling his dream. A dream to pursue an opportunity to study and play basketball at a high school in the States. After overcoming a series of setbacks, which involved redirection and staying grounded in faith, Johan has started classes  this week in Houston, Texas at Hastings High School.

Charlie Boyd with Johan on his left and the rest of the SJY Basketball Team 2014

Johan came to Costa Rica from the Dominican Republic with his brother Harlan in 2010 to live with their Mom. He met Charles “Charlie” Boyd in 2014 while playing basketball one day at the Civic Center, also known as the Skatepark, in Jaco. He shared some memories and lessons learned over the past few years as he embarks on a new adventure and the next chapter in his journey.

Connecting Through Hoops

Where did you first learn how to play basketball? 

Johan: In the Dominican Republic

How did you get involved with the Support Jaco Youth program? 

Johan:  I met Charlie in the skatepark playing basketball. One day he went to see the team at the high school and at that time the coach that we had was not very good. Charlie could see that we had a future. He said he was going to make a basketball team and would teach us how to play because he loves basketball.

One of Johan’s favorite photos. At the Multiuso gym in Jaco.

What did you learn from volunteering and working at the SJY Carwash?

Johan:  More than anything I learned to be responsible, to always be on time, to not wait until I was told to do things but to do them before asked. Also to take care of the things that provide food to eat, like my job.

How did the SJY English program motivate you to be a better student?

Johan and other SJY students during an English class

Johan:  I always wanted to learn to speak perfect English without stopping when talking with someone, without shame. My favorite language is English. When Charlie told us (me and the other students)  that he was getting an English teacher for us, I was very excited. Eventually, there came a time when I got lazy  and I didn’t want to go to classes. I was let go from the program. However, I was given a second chance and I began to go to classes again. Then I got lazy again. But the teacher always had faith in me and was always direct with me. Every time I was about to go down a bad path she put a stop and helped me get on the right path again. I am very grateful for that. 

Life Lessons and Role Models

What can you say that you learned from Charles?

Johan: Education, responsibility, to save money, take care of my family, a lot of things about basketball. Also don’t be greedy. Don’t make someone else do something that you can do yourself.

Who is a role model to you and why?

Johan:  My Dad and my Mom. They always work hard trying to get the best for their kids. And even in the worst situation they always have their heads high with a lot of faith about everything. They never give up.

Who is your favorite basketball player and favorite team?

Johan:   Lebron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers. But if Lebron leaves Cleveland, I leave with him.

Johan on his first day in Houston, TX

What is one of your goals for this year?

Johan:   To finish 10th grade and win a championship with the Hastings High School basketball team.

How would you describe Houston so far?  The dream is coming true.

All of us at The Costa Rica Team are so proud of all that Johan has accomplished so far. We have watched him grow into a mature and responsible young man and wish him all of the best!

We will continue to post updates as this new chapter in Johan’s journey unfolds.

God Bless.

Tags: , ,