An estimated 1,000 citizens attended the grand opening ceremony for Moe & Gene Johnson High Saturday, packing the main corridor of the three-story, $103 million, 413,500 square-foot building.
The Aug. 3 ceremony was filled with emotion from district leaders and descendants of Moe and Gene, two community members who dedicated their lives serving Hays County, largely credited for creating what is now Hays CISD.
“We have assembled a first-class staff here at Johnson High School that truly values the importance of relationships and we are going to build relationships with each and every student that comes through those doors,” said Johnson High School Principal Brett Miksch.
Miksch said the staff is going to assure parents that their students will be involved with a sense of community at the school.
Eager parents, students and faculty roamed the halls of the new campus in awe. The district believes Johnson High School represents the future of public education infrastructure.
The main corridor of the campus has Career & Technical Education (CTE) classrooms as a central focus. These classrooms include expansive class space for cosmetology, veterinary tech, construction, manufacturing, auto tech and art programs.
Miksch said the new campus will establish a culture of involvement, dedication and a sense of realism for students.
“I want these students to be successful throughout their life, and that starts here,” Miksch said. “We need our students to understand that it’s okay to fail because in your failures, you will be a better person. And we’re going to teach our student how to be successful through the good and bad.”
Superintendent Eric Wright said the district will work to ensure every student at Johnson High is involved with an activity or sport, ranging from clubs to music and outdoor activities.
“When you come in you’re immediately greeted with CTE classrooms and coursework because I believe it is important to teach kids to problem solve and leave here with a certification…,” Wright said. “Our students will be prepared when they leave, which is right in line with what Moe and Gene were about.”
Miksch said he wants Johnson High parents to understand that the staff plans to have every student involved at the campus.
“I firmly believe academically, we’re going to have our kids prepared to compete with anybody. We are going to instill that resiliency in our students so they are ready when they enter the workforce,” Miksch said. “To me, that will make Moe and Gene extremely proud.”
Reflecting on the legacy of Moe and Gene Johnson
Family and friends of Moe and Gene Johnson highlighted their contributions to the community.
Philosophically, the daughter and sons of Moe and Gene believe the campus’ inclusiveness, facilities and attention to all aspects of education is exactly what their parents could have only dreamed of.
“This is what they were all about; the community, the school, the people, 365 days a year,” said Bobby Johnson, son of Moe and Gene.
In 1960, Moe Johnson was appointed as the superintendent of Kyle ISD, before leading the merger of Kyle, Buda and Wimberley school districts to create Hays CISD.
His legacy as an educator, coach and school district leader included his integral role as a unifier of the communities.
Gene Johnson was an artist and author, chronicling life in Hays County and the school district. Many of her works are displayed across local businesses, ensuring her legacy lives within the community of Kyle and Buda.
“This school is everything they would have wanted for this district,” said Rev. Buddy Johnson of the First Baptist Church in Buda. “This place is diverse with all kinds of people now. They would love that.”
Leslie Jones said her father would be elated knowing students who attend Johnson High can enter the workforce with a specialty certification or have the ability to attend a 4-year university.
“He’d be overwhelmed by (the school),” Buddy Johnson chuckled. “But he would love it.”