Jennifer Leider, a teacher, a coach, a friend

April 3, 2009
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What do you get when you combine 53 high school girls and a sport? You get a challenge that many would shy away from. However, taking over the reins of a five time consecutive state championship swimming and diving team of 53 teenager girls was just another adventure for Jennifer Leider. She tackles every challenge with ambition in her eyes and hope in her voice. She believes in every girl even when they don’t believe in themselves.
This past year, she took a team of mostly underclassmen and a handful of juniors and seniors and turned them into not just a team but a family. Two summers before our 2008 season, we lost one of our alumni swimmers in a fatal car accident, and it broke Ms. Leider’s heart. She felt something needed to be done in memory of the girl that had been lost. So, she organized and planned a fundraiser that incorporated not only our season goal (which was to again claim the state title) but to come together as a team. She devised a team lock-in where we were to swim for 24 hours straight for more than 58 miles. We were instructed to raise money in order to support our local food pantry and to start a scholarship fund in our fallen alumni’s name. We not only reached our goal but we far exceeded anyone’s expectations. Over $8,000 was raised for the scholarship fund and we captured the state title again for the sixth time in seven years.
Instantly after the fundraiser, the entire essence of our team was changed. Thanks to Ms. Leider, we were able to create a legacy of greatness and charity for other teams to follow.
From a personal standpoint, Ms. Leider serves as one of the greatest role models I have ever known. She is like a lighthouse, constantly showing her students and her athletes their true potential and the way to reach their dreams. She continually inspires kids both in and out of the classroom by leading the life of a true champion. Every person feels comforted in knowing she actually cares about how her students or athletes are feeling, and is always only a phone call away if anyone is in need. This is a woman who has a passion for life and who is making a lasting impression in the lives of kids.
I am nominating my teacher, my coach, and my inspiration for your competition because I believe she deserves more recognition than just a pat on the back. She exemplifies not only the nature of what your award represents, but also embodies all the principles of someone with character exceeding far above any other person I have known. I am privileged to have her as a part of my life, and want to thank her for being the person that she is.

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tafive said...
Apr. 9, 2009 at 4:15 am
Awesome article....After reading your article I'm so glad Ms. Leider has been able to touch so many youg people's lives. You are truely blessed to have a role model such as her in your life.
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