SJPS Spotlight on Excellence: Lynn Henning

Lynn Henning, St. Johns High School class of 1970

Lynn Henning, 1970

Sports writer/columnist for "The Detroit News"; author of "Spartan Seasons" and "Spartan Seasons II." Lynn has garnered numerous national and state writing awards during his 38-year career in journalism. Highlights include the 1985 Michigan Sportswriter of the Year Award; MSU Distinguished Alum, School of Communication Arts, 2008; Greater Lansing Sports Hall of Fame, 2007.

How did your education at SJPS influence your career choice and life direction?
St. Johns High School provided the essential launch-pad for a boy who had decided early in his life that he wanted to become a sports writer. I can still remember the elation - pure elation - when I was accepted onto the Torch staff my junior year under the priceless Dorothy Bates. By my senior year, I was editor of the paper and a career was beginning to evolve.

Who are several teachers or staff who had a positive impact on your life?
Obviously, too many to cite in entirety, because so many DID influence me. In random order: Shirley Rolfe, Bob Ballard, Bob Holzhei, Doug Japinga, Bob Koger, Beverly Hall, Bill Brown, the aforementioned Dorothy Bates, Bob LaBrie, Ted Slicer, Dick Kramer, Phil Greer, Jerry Pulliam, Linden Lade, as well as counselors and principals: Gordon Vandemark, Bill Swears, Dwayne Wirick, John Furry, Arlene Scramlin, etc.

What SJPS academic, athletics and activities help to promote "excellence" in your career?
Obviously, my experience on the school newspaper was foundational. So, too, was my less-than-Oscar-winning experience in theater, notably my portrayal of Alfred Doolittle in "Pygmalion," the first theatre presentation at the then-new Pocuis Auditorium. I took a great deal of personal and professional treasure from my year on the Debate Team. I played baseball for Bill Smiley and Doug Japinga.

How did your education at SJPS shape you as a person; broaden your horizons; promote "excellence" in your daily life?
It's interesting: The same calisthenics routine I learned in gym class under Bill Brown is the same calisthenics routine I use 45 years later. There are moments and memories from classes, galore; quips and expressions from teachers across the board; and an enduring sense of warmth and friendship I've shared with not only friends, but teachers who became friends, all these years after my time as a blessed student at St. Johns High School.


"Spotlight on Excellence: SJPS Alumni," a monthly feature provided by St. Johns Schools Foundation for Excellence, focuses on St. Johns Public School alumni whose professional careers and personal accomplishments underscore the link between education and the development of well-rounded citizens whose lives have a positive impact on their communities and individuals far and wide.