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The Budget

The School Newspaper of Lawrence High School.

The Budget

The School Newspaper of Lawrence High School.

The Budget

Hall of Honor welcomes new inductees

Lawrence Lions Alumni Association recognizes three new inductees, fulfilling the work of past LHS students who fought for their inclusion
Maya Smith
LHS principal Dr. Quentin Rials speaks at the induction ceremony.

After more than a year, the work of Lawrence High students fighting for representation in the prestigious Hall of Honor has paid off.

In 2022, reporters from the Budget undertook a research project to uncover hidden stories about people of color who deserve to be recognized under this title. On Oct. 1, 2023, Debra Ann Green and John Hutcherson Spearman Sr., two people covered by this project, were officially inducted into the Hall of Honor along with renowned musician Robert Stienhardt.

The recognition of Green, Spearman and Steinhard means a great deal to many, including Lawrence High and Budget staff alumni Tessa Collar, who submitted their names to the Lawrence Lions Alumni Association (LLAA). 

“It just feels really special to have played a small role in making these individuals be recognized. I think the start of the coverage that we did was recognizing that we didn’t have very much diversity in the Hall of Honor and that that really needed to change,” Collar said. “It means a lot to me that they were able to get the recognition that they deserve.”

Each inductee made significant contributions to the school community during their time at LHS.

Debra Green was dedicated to education at LHS for the majority of her life. After graduating in 1969, she returned with a Masters in mathematics to become a math instructor in 1976. She taught for 31 years, retiring in 2007. Known for her determination to reach students through education, she was introduced by Francis Holt, her former colleague, who emphasized the importance of recognising her accomplishments especially as a woman of color.

“This thing she accomplished as a black woman during her times are phenomenal,” Holt said in her introduction of Green during the ceremony. “While teaching at Lawrence High School, Deborah was fully committed to nurturing and developing the skills and talents of all students that would be necessary for college and career readiness. She served on many committees whose goal was to provide students a safe and positive learning environment and provide them with a variety of learning opportunities, which she strongly believed that 

Collar embraces Michael Spearman, son of new inductee John Spearman Sr.

all students had the ability to learn in spite of their individual differences.”


Green’s ability to work with her students on a personal level no matter how difficult the student was just one of many qualities that made her stand out among her colleges. 

“She encouraged [her students] and helped them get through their math requirements so that they can graduate with their class and earn a Lawrence High School diploma,” Holt said. “She was able and willing to develop individualized curriculum in math for students who need it and gain extra time to help them become successful.”

Green always went above and beyond for her students, her colleagues and her work, and Holt was still impacted today by this deserved recognition.

“It moved me to tears because I knew her,” Holt said. “I knew what she did for students. I knew how she went all out. Not only for students, but anybody that needed help.”

John Hutcherson Spearman Sr. was not only an avid activist in the Lawrence community, but the first African American to serve on the USD 497 Board of Education from 1969-1975. He also served on the Lawrence Human Relations Commission from 1966 to 1969 and was involved in a variety of other local organizations. His grandson, John Harrison Spearman, spoke about his numerous contributions to the community.

“His activism didn’t just focus on African Americans but equality and inclusion for all citizens and residents of Lawrence and the United States,” Spearmen said, speaking at  the ceremony. “Additionally, he was a relentless advocate for low income housing for residents here in Lawrence as well.”

Maya Smith

There was a large amount of research that led to the discovery of Spearmen Sr. and his role in the Lawrence community, but Spearmen thinks that this is one of many examples attributing to Lawrence High’s endeavor to strive for inclusivity.

“There is a plethora of people from all over, of all types of backgrounds, all types of aspects of the government and society who are doing great things,” Spearmen said. “And so having inclusion be an important part of Lawrence High school’s history is just another continuation of what enriches our overall environment, and it makes me happy and proud that my grandfather is now part of this.”

Robert Steinhard, known to close friends as Robbie, graduated from LHS in 1968. He was an accomplished violinist and an original founder of the rock band Kansas. Sitting as concertmaster of the LHS Orchestra after training in Europe for most of his childhood, he had equal passion for classical and rock music. He explored these styles after joining a local band in Lawrence under the name White Clover in 1972, which grew to fame after adopting the name Kansas. Glen Caristinos, a founder of the Robbie Stienhardt foundation, says Stenhardt was one of the first to explore these combined genres.

“Robbie, to be noted at his school where he grew up, was important so that people know that this came out of Lawrence, Kansas,” Caristinos said. “But more importantly, Robbie introduced classical violin to rock and roll, to bring progressive rock as we know it today because of a classical violin.”

In honor of his time and contributions at LHS, Caristinos and the Robbie Stienhard foundation presented the ceremony with an interactive memorial bronze violin. Caristinos also thinks this presentation represents the merging of Stienhardt’s two music passions.

“That’s one reason why the presentation to the school of the bronze violin is what significance it really means in the music industry,” Caristonos said. 

Although all of the inductees have passed on, many of their relatives, friends and colleagues were in attendance to honor them for their accomplishments. Jessica Larson, the President of the Lawrence Alumni association Board of Trustees, believes their presence is important to celebrate these individuals.

“I know that it’s unusual this year that we’re honoring people that have gone before us and I know there’s nothing that the friends and family would love more than to have them here today,” Larson said, addressing the audience at the induction ceremony. “I hope that there’s some comfort in knowing that everything that they have done in their life is still part of us and people are still remembering them.”

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About the Contributors
Zana Kennedy
Zana Kennedy, The Budget Co-Editor in Chief

I am going into my second year on staff as Co-Editor in Chief of the LHS Budget print publication, and I’m ready to help this publication rise to the occasion. When I’m not knocking out stories or planning the latest issue of the Budget, you can find me doing ballet at the Lawrence Art Center, playing the violin in orchestra, reading, baking or hanging out with friends. I am also involved in Link Crew at LHS.

Maya Smith
Maya Smith, Red and Black Co-Editor in Chief

I am a second year editor-in-chief of the Red and Black Yearbook and have been on staff for three years. I am considered a jack of all trades - I take photos, write, design, and do lots and lots of live reporting. When I’m not working on journalism, I’m a part of IPS, Student Council, Unified Sports, Link Crew, and Hang12.

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