Setting Sail is Gavin’s Game

Gavin Johnson, a senior at VIMSIA, will head to the University of Jamestown this fall on a volleyball scholarship. (Submitted photo)

Gavin Johnson has been a part of the Virgin Islands Montessori School and Peter Gruber International Academy (VIMSIA) since primary school, growing and thriving within its supportive environment, and now he is being given the opportunity to set sail on a volleyball scholarship to the University of Jamestown.

Aspiring to pursue a business career, Johnson’s journey is filled with achievements and a determination to excel. His involvement in volleyball began during his sophomore year when a friend made a bet with him to try out for volleyball after seeing his basketball skills. 

Initially unfamiliar with the sport, Johnson quickly adapted and excelled. Mark Daniel, a mentor and coach, played a pivotal role in Johnson’s development. Recognizing his potential, Daniel invited Johnson to join his club, significantly enhancing Johnson’s competitiveness. Despite the limitations of the island’s sports structure, Daniel’s guidance helped Johnson become the skilled player he is today.

“It was nice knowing that there was a college looking for someone like me,” Johnson shared. “I wanted to focus on my abilities and further excel them. I feel like it was a relief, like OK, we got there, but now after I get up there, I know it’s going to be hard. It’s good to know, but the job’s not finished.”

Johnson’s hard work paid off when he received a scholarship from the University of Jamestown, a National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) school that will transition to a Division II school next year. He plans to play as a middle blocker, leveraging his impressive 6-foot, 6-inch height.

“I’m going to the University of Jamestown in North Dakota. I’m actually visiting in June, so it’s my first time going up there. When I got the scholarship, I was like, let’s figure it out. I feel like I can definitely manage it, and after I get up there, I can put in more work,” he explained.

Reflecting on his future, Johnson expressed both excitement and determination transitioning to college life.

“I feel like it’s going to be a learning curve, but I’m very excited to meet new people, have my independent dorm, and figure out how to be an adult. I’m definitely learning to manage my time early on so I don’t struggle with being a student-athlete. I definitely want to keep doing this because there are opportunities to go to different places with scholarships. I feel like I can definitely manage this and fit my studies into my life,” he said.

My major is business and marketing. Being able to juggle all of those components will be difficult, but I can manage. Time management will be crucial for me as a student-athlete, and I want to keep doing this because of the opportunities it brings,” he continued. 

“I plan on playing middle blocker because I have a gift from God being 6’6, but I’m also trying to see if I can play outside,” he added.

Johnson’s story showcases his resilience, hard work, and the supportive environment provided by VIMSIA. His journey from primary school to the University of Jamestown showcases his dedication to academics and athletics, preparing him for the challenges and opportunities.