Petition to honor Paul "Skip" Johnson with HHS Auditorium Naming

Petition to honor Paul "Skip" Johnson with HHS Auditorium Naming

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Alyssa MacDonald started this petition to School Committee for the Hudson Public Schools

Below is a letter that will be presented to the Hudson School Committee asking that Paul "Skip" Johnson, an educator of thirty two years, be honored by the naming of the Hudson High School auditorium, for his service to the community and leadership in the arts. Please take a moment to read and sign this petition to show your support for this amazing man!

To The Hudson School Committee -


Shakespeare wrote, “All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players.” One player in particular, Paul “Skip” Johnson, looms large as an influential and guiding figure; promoting, instilling, and impressing the value of performing arts in both the students that were fortunate enough to work with him, and the greater Hudson community as a whole.


For 32 years, Skip led a generation of k-12 students with a pedagogy that was not relegated to mere instruction. Instead, Skip fostered a wholly inclusive community — introducing the performing arts to students of all skill levels, backgrounds, ages, and interests, and granting them new avenues of purpose and self discovery. He worked tirelessly to make sure each and every student reached their full potential. You could say his teachings went far beyond the confines of basic arts curriculum and into a whole person method of learning. It was with this approach that he reached into the hearts of his students.


To the thousands of students Skip taught and mentored, his value cannot be overstated. He provided real knowledge to youthful, hungry minds that wanted more, turning Hudson High School’s auditorium unto a sanctuary during class and after hours. Now, years later, there is a hardly a person taught by Skip that wouldn’t reflect on him in the most positive of ways. Some would see him as a major influence towards obtaining self-confidence and realization. For others, the prime inspiration in the forging of a lifelong passion. And for many, he was the very role model that not just shaped where they wanted to be professionally, but challenged and encouraged who they ultimately became as individuals.


A vibrant art scene goes hand-in-hand with a vibrant community. Studies have found the exposure to the arts improves test scores, self-efficacy, learning skills, and overall health. The arts create social bonds in communities, and even promotes economic growth and social capital development.


To that end, Skip, along with his wife Lynne Johnson, became leaders within the Hudson community, distinguishing it beginning in 1991, with the Hudson Area Arts Alliance (now the River’s Edge Arts Alliance), and its renowned Summer Drama Workshop program. The auditorium they built at the original Hudson High School, both figuratively and in many ways literally (if you count the multiple sets, paintings, and wardrobe building experiences), became the center of their efforts -- bringing forth plays, musicals and concerts to eager audiences young and old. The productions they presented didn’t just fill a recreational void, but carved out a culture which has only been amplified by those who once fell under their tutelage.


As time tends to do, Skip’s direct contributions have become somewhat of a lingering echo among a new generation and a more modern HHS building. Though he’s very much responsible for putting Hudson on the map when it comes to the arts, there are many newcomers to the town who sadly don’t know of his name and story. Even more tragic, in recent years, Skip has fallen ill with cancer and is battling every day for his health.


In light of this, and even more so for his unparalleled service during his time as an educator, we the undersigned propose to pay tribute to Skip with the naming of the current Hudson High Auditorium. As Shakespeare also wrote, “Mine honor is my life, both grow in one.”  Given Skip’s undeniable lifelong legacy to the town, such a dedication seems only fitting. We ask the Hudson School Committee to consider this proposal, and kindly request to attend a meeting in which further anecdotes and testimonies of Skip’s personal and professional successes can be told directly by those who have gained immeasurably because of them. We appreciate the review, and greatly thank you for the time, thought and attention.

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At 1,500 signatures, this petition is more likely to get picked up by local news!