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Gryphon Gallery: Jenny John

Stuart Brambley, School Archivist
Jenny John taught at Glenlyon Norfolk School (Norfolk House) from 1970 to 1974, having just arrived from England.
She excelled as a player as well as a Physical Education teacher and hockey coach. As a youngster she was a fine cricketer, playing for Essex County and the east of England squad, but while obtaining her physical education degree she also completed certification in coaching and umpiring field hockey.

Her playing days saw her quickly become a leader and captain of the 1972 Canadian team, while also serving as player-coach to guide Team BC to national titles in 1974, 1979 and 1980. From 1978 to 1980 she coached the University of Victoria squad, in the midst of a 14-year reign as BC coach. 

The highlight of her playing days was captaining Canada at the 1975 world championships in Edinburgh. Sadly, a severe knee injury in that tournament cut short her international career, but undaunted she quickly switched to coaching, umpiring and administration.

After starting at Norfolk House, she devoted many hours to the development of field hockey within the school, around the province and across Canada, creating recreational and competitive programs, giving workshops and writing six handbooks to further promote the playing skills and umpiring of the game, one of which was translated and distributed to 33 of the world’s field hockey-playing nations.

Retiring in 2000, John’s efforts didn’t go unrecognized. Twice the recipient of Field Hockey Canada’s Achievement Award, she was also given the organization’s Distinguished Service Award. She was presented with the Queen’s Jubilee Commemorative Medal in 2003 and the BC Games President’s Award in 2004.

Jenny John is a member of the Victoria Sports Hall of Fame, the BC Sports Hall of Fame and the Field Hockey Canada Hall of Fame. She has an annual bursary awarded by BC Field Hockey in her name for officiating. All of which is not a bad curriculum vitae for a former private school teacher who only planned to be in Canada for two years!  

This is the nineteenth instalment of a series of articles entitled "Gryphon Gallery” created by our School Archivist that provides snapshots that celebrate the achievements of a variety of alumni and staff from throughout the history of GNS.
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We wish to acknowledge and respect the Lekwungen-Speaking Peoples on whose traditional territory we stand, and the Songhees, Esquimalt and Wsáneć Peoples whose historical relationships with the land, where we live, work, play and learn, continue to this day.