The last 18 months or so haven’t been kind to Thomas Jefferson High School – an EF3 tornado struck the school in October 2019 and required a move to Thomas Edison Middle School, and then the pandemic hit and moved everything online last spring.
It was against that backdrop that Thomas Jefferson athletic director (and football and basketball coach) worked with his football team, knowing that this was more than a game – it was a part of a package of things that kept students motivated.
“This story provides a timely reminder that the value of athletics extends beyond wins and losses,” said sports editor Todd Jorgenson. “For TJ athletes, sports became a vessel for healing and a lesson in resilience.”
Where coaches at other schools might have to manufacture character-building experiences, TJ players live through them every day.
“There are reasons why people could have left, but we’ve had to talk with parents and ask them to give us a chance to grow their kids and support their kids. Many of them have stayed,” Jones told Jorgenson. “We just try to focus on the positives. Eventually, we will be back at the TJ we know. It will be built better and stronger.”