When the world loses a legend, we pay tribute and we mourn. We mourn for people that have left a mark, we mourn for people we love, we mourn for those that made the world a better place. We mourn most for those close to us and those that leave something within everyone they have touched. We celebrate their life and we hold them in our heart.

This article pays respect to “Johno”. Robin Johnson. Or as he was known to many, Mr Johnson. He wasn’t a celebrity or someone who made global headlines. He was more than that to the generations of students that attended Corinda High here in Queensland. Everyone who attended Corinda has great memories of Johno, and our lives were enhanced by knowing and being educated by him.  He was our sports-master, he led our Physical Education team and everyone knew, that as long as you gave your best, he had your back. For the many generations of students he was absolutely known for one thing : the Corinda High Dance Program.

I might be showing my age here, but I started at Corinda in 1979. He was already an institution then and remained that way decades after. Almost everyone talks fondly about Johno even if their stay at Corinda was brief or tarnished, and even if they didn’t take PE.

We all have fond memories of Johno. He was amongst everybody’s favourite teachers while at school. Showing faith in us, challenging us to our greatness and seeing something that we couldn’t see were just some of his traits that we loved.

He was a teacher I admired and respected. And one thing become his legacy. He taught multiple generations of students to dance. His energy, persistence and enthusiasm for teaching the student to dance was contagious. It was the one constant at Corinda over the years. The dance program. I am not talking about disco or the latest fads and crazes. The one constant was the dance program that taught the Quickstep, the Cha Cha Cha, the Barn Dance and my personal favourite, the Corinda High Hop.

Every generation that went to the school would have thought these dances were from another time and era. Reflecting back now brings fond memories and a sense of gratitude. Some may have danced after school, many won’t have, but I believe many will be doing a dance or two in his honour at the moment.

Johno was a wiry, wizened and strong leader at  school. He taught us these dances with a passion that few will exhibit or ever experience. He may have been seen as a bit of a dork, a man behind the times but the joy for the students was in working something out that may have been uncomfortable, hard to comprehend, well beyond their comfort and well beyond their cool zone.

For me and many others, the memories are of a man who put everything into teaching us something that he was passionate about.  For many, the lessons were never apparent, but for me, I can do the quickstep because of one man’s persistence. I can do the chachacha because of the same man. Importantly, the progressive barn dance does not make me break out in a sweat. I may be rusty but I can still pull the moves. The memories of dance at the Corinda High School Hall will always be there.

The greatest lesson he gave us was one on mastery. Because of Johno’s energy, enthusiasm and drive we mastered something that we never thought we would need and never though we wanted to. We mastered something that we had no idea we could.

That’s Johno’s true legacy, mastery.  Mastering something that we didn’t really want to do. Something that was difficult and foreign to most of us, yet we all managed to do it and master it.

Bt reflecting on Johno, I believe the building of legacy comes from the three things.

  1. Your legacy is built from your daily actions. How you live your life every-day is how you will be remembered. Think about how you want to be remembered, look at how you live and make the adjustment.
  2. Live unashamedly you.  Be authentic and be genuine. Do what you do with  passion and energy. Be who you are, and stop conforming to the ideal being set by others.
  3. Know what you want and chase it. Too many of us, get caught up living the life being set out for us by others. Some really deep conversations lately with close friends, come with the realization that time is passing and that the “mythical” bucket list is forming. Stop being constricted. Know what you want and take action to get there.

Johno didn’t set out to leave a legacy. He just lived his best life, and that’s the secret.  On behalf of generations of Corinda High Students, thanks Johno. You will be dearly remembered, you will be sadly missed

Lindy Baker

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