Wednesday, October 17, 2018

James Huhn

An article in the St. Tammany Farmer newspaper, published on June 6, 1985, announced that Principal James Huhn of Mandeville High School would be retiring soon. Here's the text from that article:

In June of  1985, James Huhn, principal of Mandeville High School for more than 17 years, announced that he would be retiring in two months. Huhn served as principal of Mandeville High during its period of tremendous growth, moving into a new building, and now with an enrollment of 1300 students.

"That's more than what the entire population of Mandeville was when I first came here,"Huhn said Monday.

He came to the school in 1968 and has seen a lot of changes, both in the school and in the community. "It would be like a book," he said, responding to a suggestion that he list all the changes. Huhn has helped the school gain and retain one of the finest reputations in the state for educational excellence.

Originally from Hammond, Huhn is married to a Covington native, and they have three children, with a grandchild expected in October. When asked what he would be doing now that he's facing retirement, Huhn said, "Just about anything I want to do."

While he doesn't have any special plans at this time, he is looking forward to getting in a lot more hunting and fishing. He has always been very active with the St. Tammany Sportsman League, he said.

Once away from the school schedule and bells, he'll have more time to spend with his family and do some traveling with his wife. "For a while, I'll just play it by ear," he said. "It'll really be a different kind of life. I've been living by the school bell for over 30 years."

Looking back over the past decades, Huhn said that he would vividly remember the day they opened the Causeway. It was  a summer day, a hot one, and he and his wife had been operating an ice cream parlor on Lakeshore Drive in Mandeville. During the summer, teachers always had second jobs to make ends meet.

The day the Causeway opened, the Huhns sold a thousand dollars worth of ice cream in about six hours, he recalls. They were leasing the soda fountain in the only drug store in town, William Pharmacy, and had the market cornered on ice cream that day.

"It was the biggest boom day in the economic history of Mandeville, he said, referring to the opening of the Causeway.

Cyprian Schoen, Superintendent of Schools for St. Tammany Parish, and a former principal at Mandeville High, said that Huhn had contributed much to the school and the community during his years as principal. "Due to the growth pattern in St. Tammany, Huhn had one of the more challenging positions in our system," Schoen said. "I've never known a more dedicated educator in my career than Huhn."

He described him as a man of great principle who developed a strong philosophy of education early in his career and who never wavered from it. "This philosophy was one of excellence because he consistently sought to provide what was best for the children," he went on to say.

Replacing Huhn will be difficult, Schoen thought.

He felt that Mandeville High's reputation was due in part to Huhn's very personal input into the selection and hiring of teachers for his faculty. "That's how we do it in our parish,"Schoen said, commenting that Huhn really got involved with his school.

People like Huhn have had a meaningful impact on the overall community because of his many years with the children of the area who have now grown up to be adult leaders. 

James Edward Huhn passed away on Monday, Nov. 19, 2012, at 80 years of age. Mr. Huhn was a graduate of Southeastern Louisiana University and a veteran of the United States Army.