Student-Athlete Spotlight: Le’Andra and Destiny at Johnson College Prep

This photo is a collage of two images of two girls' basketball players at Johnson College Prep. They are both in white and blue uniforms and posing with a basketball crooked in their elbow. Le'Andra H is on the left and Destiny T is on the right.

Johnson College Prep has many dedicated female athletes in a variety of sports, from football to basketball. Our Lady Pumas work hard to simultaneously pursue excellence in sports and academics. Often, female athletes don’t get the attention they deserve, so we’re spotlighting two of our amazing female athletes at JCP. Take a look:

Le’Andra H. | Senior | Football & Basketball Player

Image shows a full body portrait of Le'Andra H, a basketball player at Johnson College Prep. She is in a white and blue uniform with the number 23 on 23. She has her hands on her hips wih a basketball tucked in her right elbow.

Le’Andra H., a senior, is the lone female player on the football team. She plays linebacker (LB) on defense and running back (RB) on offense. She also plays power forward on the Lady Puma basketball team. Outside of team sports, Le’Andra also loves to dance.

As a freshman, she started playing on the football and basketball teams, and her love and commitment to sports have flourished since then. Le’Andra supports her teams in any way she can, from spearheading initiatives to encourage staff and students to come out and support their games to assisting her teammates in taking on leadership roles as she transitions out of high school.

During her time at JCP, Le’Andra has become an inspiration for other student-athletes. Her teammates appreciate her dedication, passion, and work ethic, and more girls have been inspired to join football and other sports because of her.

“Le’Andra was the first girl I always knew was in sports. Not only was she on the team, she was good! Watching her was dope when I cheered for football or basketball. I heard teachers talking about her and how it was possible to do anything I put my mind to, regardless of my gender,” Destiny T., a junior and fellow student-athlete, said.

“I never thought of myself as someone who empowers other young ladies,” Le’Andra said, “It feels good to encourage people to try new things and that it doesn’t matter if you’re a boy or girl.”

Le’Andra is the first girl to join the JCP football team in its history. While she ultimately wants to play basketball at college, she has loved playing football at JCP. Her passion for the sport encouraged one of her teachers, Sidney Talbott, to get more involved in athletics at JCP.

“Le’Andra pulled me in because she always wanted me to come to her games. I started helping with the team, and then I started assistant directing athletics,” Talbott said, now in the role of assistant director of athletics at JCP, “I wasn’t seeing any women helping out in sports— and the love I see that they (the students) have for it, the passion—all of that made me want to do it.”

This year in basketball, Le’Andra had an average of 4.2 steals and 3.2 assists per game.

“Le’Andra has inspired so many athletes, including my own daughter, during her time here at JCP. She has shown that, with dedication and hard work, you can shatter the status quo,” Principal Jonas Cleaves said.

Image shows two female football players at Johnson College Prep, one of them Le'Andra H, standing with a young Black girl---Principal Jonas Cleaves' daughter. They are outside on the football field.

Principal Cleaves' daughter (middle) stands with Le'Andra (left) and another player.

In the fall, Le’Andra will attend Northern Illinois University. She wants to continue her passion for sports and hopefully join the women’s basketball team there. Her ultimate goal is to play at the Division I or II level.

Destiny T. | Junior | Basketball Player

Photo is a full body portrait of Destiny T, a basketball player at Johnson College Prep. She is wearing a white and blue uniform. She has a basketball crooked in her left arm while her other arm falls to her side.

Destiny T., a junior at JCP, plays on the Lady Pumas basketball team as a small forward. For Destiny, basketball is one of her top priorities.

“All I ever really think about since coming to Johnson is playing basketball! If I want to give my full attention, though, I always make sure my grades come first.” Destiny said.

Outside of basketball, Destiny also loves making music and exploring music production. Destiny, in addition to basketball, is also part of the JCP marching band & drumline.

“Destiny is a very hard worker. She contributes positively to the overall morale of the drumline. As a 1st year drummer, she earned a position on the coveted snare line with the honors ‘Most Improved for Semester 1’,” said Frederick Tapley, the marching band and drumline director at JCP.

Destiny serves as the captain of the Lady Pumas varsity basketball team. She loves her teammates and their commitment to the game.

“What I enjoy the most is playing with my team— they’re people I’ve grown closer to, and I know that, like me, they’re playing to win!” Destiny said.

Destiny prepares to take a shot at the 2024 Noble League championship game between Johnson and Butler College Prep.


Destiny’s teachers appreciate her commitment to the sport.

“Destiny is an extraordinary athlete. She’s dedicated and passionate about the game. The sky is the limit for what she will be able to do here and beyond Johnson,” Mitchell Lonie, the boys varsity basketball coach, said.

Destiny is proud of the work she and her team have put in and how well they work together.

“When something is going wrong, it might take us a little bit of time, but we know how to come back and know when it’s time to lock in,” Destiny said.

Student-athletes like Le’Andra and Destiny and the staff who support them, like Ms.Talbott, help create an environment where our girls at JCP can thrive in sports. We can’t wait to see how Lady Pumas, across all sports, continues to grow.

“The Lady Pumas have been a dominant force since I arrived at JCP. Watching them compete and make numerous championship games in the conference has been a pleasure,” Mitchell Lonie, the coach for JCP’s boys’ varsity basketball team and PE teacher, said, “The boys’ varsity team plays on the same days as the ladies on numerous occasions. They have given us great momentum heading into our games. I appreciate you, Lady Pumas!”

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