On the morning of our Bicentennial Celebration, Sept. 14, 2018, John Storjohann wrote: “I stood in the parking lot this morning, gazing toward the statue of St. Rose Philippine Duchesne that anchors that corner of Clark and Second Street, and tried to imagine what it must have looked like 200 years ago…what emotions must have swept over the Religious of the Sacred Heart as they stood on the porch of the Duquette Mansion and gazed across the Petite Cotes…the Little Hills of St. Charles.”
His reflection and deep appreciation for our school’s history pervade his work here. For 40 years, John has dedicated himself to Academy students and has devoted his days to this school he loves. He began teaching in 1978, fresh out of Lindenwood College, and worked with the very first classes of boys. From PE teacher and coach to Director of Students for Boys and computer teacher, he has influenced countless children. Here are some of their words:
Coach John instilled in me my love for computers and science. He was instrumental in my, and my classmates’, growth into becoming a man during my 10 years at the Academy! Truly one of the greatest to ever walk through the oak doors!
– RJ Jackson, Class of 2017
Coach John was more than a computer and history teacher and a basketball and track coach, he was an educator who believed in instructing the entire child. I have used him as a model for my own practice as an educator. However, my favorite memory of him was in Eighth grade, when he enlisted my entire homeroom in an April Fools prank at my expense. I was mouthing off that since we had already been accepted to high schools, our fourth quarter grades didn’t matter. He forged a letter on SLUH letterhead saying I needed a 4.0 second semester. It was a good prank and well executed!
– Tim Dickmeyer, Class of 1993
My favorite memories would have to be all the mornings spent with Coach John and Mr. Biermann in early arrival. He used to let us occasionally play basketball during this time in the gym and I credit that with helping me gain a lifelong love of basketball and reaching children just like he did to me. The teacher I am today was molded all those years ago during early arrival … Some of the best mornings of my life!
– Kari Osmundson Osborne, Class of 1991
Coach was available to my siblings and me when Mike was dying of cancer. We met in Newtown and his earnest, healing presence was a bridge to more innocent and joyful times. Coach and Mr. B. have a large place in my family’s collective memory and connection to ASH. Thanks, Coach, for carrying the torch the RSCJ lit and congrats on an amazing career in education!
– Andy Linsenmeyer, Class of 1996
Immediate flashback to the sight of an Apple CRT unexpectedly, abruptly fading to black as the power cord for an entire table got kicked out of the socket. To this day, I am a pathological document-saver and have avoided a fair number of catastrophic losses of work. Possibly one of the most valuable life lessons anyone has ever taught!
– Andrew Behlmann, Class of 1994
Coach John was a recent grad and a star athlete from Lindenwood. As our new coach, he participated in gym class and all the games with and against us. He competed with us and he was tough on us. Coach John taught us the value of respect and being gentleman. As his years progressed at ASH he took on more responsibilities and leadership. He was a natural at all his roles and deeply committed to ASH and the students’ academic and personal development. I always admired his deep relationship with Mr. B and in his early days, he quickly learned to quote “The Three Stooges” and “SNL” lines and any current episodes or skits. As they built their friendship together, they also built a sports and academic powerhouse. I’m still proud to be part of that dynasty and I carry those track lessons Coach John taught me to this day. Most importantly, I valued my times with both Coach John and Mr. B. on our trout fishing trips after graduation. Those two have the best sense of humor, advice and just great life balance. Simply put, awesome role models. I surely was blessed to be taught and coached by Coach John. I love knowing he is always home at ASH when I stop by!”
– John Tebbe, Class of 1981
Beyond all of his “classroom” duties, John finds time to illuminate the beauty in the world around us – including our campus – through photography. Most recently, his images appeared in our Bicentennial calendar and in Jane Cannon’s book, “Two Hundred Years: A Legacy of Love and Learning.” That project, he shares, was, “the most fulfilling photography I have ever done. Looking at a place (and history) that I have come to love and cherish so deeply in a new way…discovering yet again the beauty of this sacred ground…was a grace beyond measure.”
How lucky we, as alumni, have been to be influenced by John. And how grateful we are to his family: wife, Debbie, daughters, Rachelle and Melissa, and new grandson, Theo, for sharing their husband, father and now grandfather with us throughout these years.
Thank YOU, John, for sharing your gifts for more than four decades with Academy students. Through your commitment to Sacred Heart education, you have permanently shaped young men and women. Philippine would be proud of one of her true sons of the Sacred Heart!
We are collecting favorite memories and tributes for Coach John. To submit yours, click here.