Our children were recently recognized in the CDT for their inspiring athletic abilities and character. Such recognition causes a parent to reflect on who or what inspired their child to work so hard to achieve such an honor. For us, we know the answer is a Pittsburgh Pirates cap-wearing coach, Jayson Jackson.
Coach Jackson has been the head cross-country/track and field coach at St. Joseph’s Catholic Academy since the school opened in 2011. All of our children run as part of the distance team.
Like all successful coaches, coach Jackson pushes athletes to believe in themselves, to look beyond the limits of today, to take risks, and to learn from mistakes. What puts coach Jackson in another class is how he goes beyond this. He truly cares for each team member as a whole person, not just an athlete.
For example, recognizing Grace Cousins’ ultimate inspiration is her art, he used her original designs for team shirts and notecards. Knowing Michael Peters’ exceptional passion for computer science, coach Jackson trusted Michael to create team-related event websites and an online running log. For Kate Ott, coach Jackson made great efforts to understand and address her struggles, allowing her to reach her goal of running at the college level. And finally, coach Jackson has prayed with Sera Mazza on multiple occasions, knowing the strength she gains from her growing relationship with God.
Coach Jackson is a big part of why our children are who they are today, and what they will become in the future. Our community is blessed to have such a truly inspiring coach.
Lisa and Todd Cousins, Lemont
Sue and Paul Mazza,
Colleen and Troy Ott,
Kathy and Jeff Peters,