Title IX at 50: Saydee Johns, Women’s Tennis

Four Hope College women's tennis teammates high five on the court.
Saydee Johns, front left, high-fives Sydney Jackson on the tennis court.

Editor’s Note: On June 23, 1972, a federal civil rights law was passed that prohibited sex-based discrimination in any educational institution that receives federal funding. Title IX also gave girls and women the equal opportunity to compete in sports across the country. To commemorate the 50th anniversary of Title IX’s passing this summer, Hope College Athletics shares the memories and perspectives from Hope College student-athletes, coaches, and alumnae around the 9th of each month during the school year.

In the ninth installment of our Title IX celebration, women’s tennis senior Saydee Johns talks the opportunity to pursue her academic interests, including a business major, as well as her athletic interests. Johns and her teammates will compete in the NCAA Division III Women’s Tennis Championships this week after winning the MIAA Tournament for a league-record 10th consecutive season on Saturday with a 5-0 victory against Kalamazoo College at home on the VandePoel-Heeringa Stadium Courts.

What’s next for you after concluding your tennis career at Hope College?

Saydee Johns: After graduation, I have a couple classes to finish up so I will be back next fall to take those. Also, I will be working for a company as an intern on the days I am not taking classes. Most important though, I will be cheering on the team from the sidelines. 

What have you enjoyed the most about being a student-athlete and being able to continue your tennis career in college?

Saydee Johns: What I have enjoyed the most about being a student athlete is the people I’ve met, specifically at Hope. The athletic community is full of driven and caring people, and each of them have pushed me to work harder on and off court to take home championships for Hope. Some of these athletes have become my best friends that I will be able to journey through life with after we walk across the stage in May. Truly blessed by these three years and wouldn’t take it back for anything. I encourage the underclassmen to fully live in the moment and enjoy the ride, it goes way too quick.

How has being a Hope student-athlete helped shape you as an adult?

Saydee Johns: Looking back at these past four years, tennis was something that was always changing. Whether it was because of injury, lineup changes or COVID, I have learned to adapt and adjust to the circumstances in front of me and work hard no matter what. Also it has taught me to show grace, and to give myself grace as well. 

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