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Newport Graduates Showcased in New Video Series

A new video series showcases the lives of Newport High School alumni.

The first edition debuted at the most recent Newport Board of Education meeting and featured Aaron Johnson, NHS class of 1997, who owns and operates A.J.'s Kut'n Up barber shop at 529 York Street in Newport.

"It's always been a goal of mine to eventually come back home and open up a shop in my own neighborhood," Johnson, who has operated his shop for six years, says in the video, embedded below. "My card says Back to my Roots."

"I talk to a lot of kids, and one thing I always tell them is if I could do it all over again, I would," Johnson says. "I just had that much fun in school. The teachers, my peers - I can't think of anything negative to say about high school, I loved it."

The concept of the alumni testimonial series was first suggested by Ramona Malone, chairwoman of the Newport Board of Education. She also suggested Johnson as the first Newport graduate to be featured.

"I know Aaron and so many other graduates had great experiences growing up in Newport and going to the Newport schools because they tell me about it," Malone said. "I felt featuring our graduates is an excellent way for people, including our current students and their families, to learn about the positive impact the Newport schools have had on their lives."

Newport Superintendent Kelly Middleton quickly embraced the idea.

"As soon as I heard it I loved it," Middleton said. "No one can tell the great story of the Newport schools like the people who went here. Each month we are going to feature an array of people from all walks of life - men, women, young, old, professional, blue collar and more - who will tell in their own words how the Newport schools helped form who they are as successful and contributing members of the community."

Future videos will be also be posted school district's website.

The video was produced by Connor Wall of Strategic Advisers LLC, which provides communications consulting and services to the Newport Independent Schools.

-Staff report