By Nancy Price
Two young men from Southport, separated by a move as children, have become the best of friends while attending college in Texas.
Jacob Bledsoe and Joshua Johnson, both 20, reunited at Texas State Technical College and are set to graduate on Aug. 17 in Waco.
As fifth graders at Homecroft Elementary School, Bledsoe and Johnson initially did not get along. A teacher eventually told them to make peace and try to become friends. They took the advice.
The two visited each other’s homes, bonding over video games, playing outside, riding in the Bledsoe’s family’s four-wheeler and visiting Kings Island amusement park.
Johnson and his family left Indianapolis the summer after his sixth-grade year and moved to Texas.
“We were definitely upset,” he said. “I was upset that I would lose my friends.”
Bledsoe added, “We planned on high school graduation together but that did not happen.”
Johnson and Bledsoe kept in touch by phone and texted one another daily, in addition to communicating via a video game system.
Despite the distance between them, the two friends were able to still visit each other during their freshman and sophomore years of high school. Bledsoe, a defensive end on the Southport Cardinals football team, sent Johnson video clips when he played his senior year in the Horseshoe Classic, a season-opening jamboree at Lucas Oil Stadium.
While Johnson attended Chisholm Trail High School in Fort Worth and took a class in welding, a teacher encouraged him to attend TSTC.
“I came to visit (TSTC) in February of my senior year and liked it and applied,” Johnson said.
Meanwhile, after graduating from Southport High School, Bledsoe worked at UPS and then as an electrician’s helper. However, he decided to apply to TSTC as well and visited the campus last year. Bledsoe had grown up around the plumbing and carpentry fields.
“He felt he could be doing more,” Johnson, said. By that time, Johnson had already been attending TSTC for two semesters and arranged for Bledsoe to room with him.
“It’s a pretty big leap of faith and it worked out for (Bledsoe),” said Letha Novosad, lead instructor in TSTC’s Building Construction Technology program in Waco.
Bledsoe is scheduled to receive an Electrical Construction certificate, and Johnson is set to receive an associate of applied science degree in Welding Technology.
Bledsoe and Johnson are considering job options in Texas.