The Last Huzzah

By Sevil Mamedovi

Don Johnson has taught for three decades at SHS. After teaching for a total of 43 years, he has decided that it is time to retire.

Johnson teaches guitar, introduction to theatre, men’s and women’s jazz choir.

Outside of school, he spends a lot time as a volunteer at the tour center. He enjoys telling people about the place where he lives. If he wasn’t a teacher, he would be a tour guide.

“There are so many things I want to explore. I love to share our past with others and being a tour guide allows you to do that. That is something that I will enjoy to do,” said Johnson.

Johnson’s favorite holidays are the Fourth of July and Christmas, because he gets to spend time with his grandchildren. He also loves steak and pretzels.

His number one reason for teaching is “to see the joy of performing on the faces of other people and know that I help them to get to that point.”

“Most importantly, I want my students to have the ability to work with everybody,” he said.

Throughout the years, Johnson has touched many people, both directly and indirectly.

“He puts his everything into what he teaches. Mr. Johnson interacts with his students, he generously cares about them in all aspects. If you have a problem at home, he understands it. He cares about his students very much, and that’s something that you don’t see as much anymore,” said senior Molly Hulse.

“I think Mr. Johnson might be a wizard. He has made such an impact on the lives he’s been a part of. At his “Going Away” concert, so many people showed up from so many years ago. He is the wonderful wizard of Sterling,” said junior Clifford Farrington.

Johnson not only touched students, but also fellow teachers.

“I have known Mr. Johnson for 28 years.  My special memory of him is the wonderful friendship we share. He is one of my best friends here at Sterling High School,” said Spanish teacher Cheryl Rael.

I have known Mr. Johnson now for 8 years. One of my favorite memories of Mr. Johnson comes from when SHS put on the musical The Sound of Music.  At the time I was performing in the pit orchestra with other members of the band.  About 45 minutes before the opening show, the lead character in the play, Captain Von Trapp, was run over by a truck and was unable to perform.  After finding that out, Mr. Johnson said to me, “you will fit in the costume nicely.  Here is a script, down the hall is your dressing room, and head over to make up.  You are the captain now.”  The best part came when Mr. Johnson gathered the whole cast together to give one final pep talk before the show began and he said, “Now I know that you are all nervous and anxious for the show to start but just remember one thing… No matter how nervous you are, Mark is probably more nervous than you,” said band instructor Mark Thompson. “As far as being both colleague and student of Mr. Johnson goes, I would say I prefer being a colleague because even though I work beside him, Mr. Johnson is still my mentor and my teacher.  Now I get the honor of having him as my teacher AND my co-worker.”

These are only a small fraction of the people that Johnson has affected and there is no doubt that he will be greatly missed.

To me, Mr. Johnson is an awesome and amazing teacher and I’m so thankful I had him as a teacher during my time in America.

“The best teachers are those who show you where to look, but don’t tell you what to see.” -Alexandra K. Trenfor

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