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Carolus, tribute to a pioneer in women’s sports

Photo courtesy of Marla Wright


By BRIAN CARSON

LEWISTOWN – The days are long but life is short. A grain of sand in the hourglass of time. What you do with your speck of existence is most important.

Jaynee Carolus understood the importance and packed a boatload of life in her much too brief 73 years. She left a lasting mark that will reverberate throughout Mifflin County for generations to come.

Jaynee was one of those special people you meet that sticks with you all your days. Someone to admire, emulate, and appreciatethe time you had together. She had a true zest for living that rubbed off on others.

Mifflin County Athletic Director Tish Maclay remembers fondly the influence Carolus had on her life and career.

Jaynee loved and lived life to the fullest. She had a kind heart and was never afraid to speak her mind about what she believed was right. She helped many kids and adults throughout her life,” Maclay said. “I was privileged to know her and have her be a part of my life for so many years. Jaynee left many lasting memories and will always remain a major influence on many, especially me.

A 1964 graduate of Lewistown High School, she received her B.S. degree in health and physical education cum laude from Lock Haven University in May 1968. While at Lock Haven, she took part in the field hockey, basketball and tennis teams. She was a lifetime member of Alpha Sigma Tau social sorority and Kappa Delta Pi, a national honor society for education majors.

Jaynee began her teaching career in Bristol Township from 1968 to 1970, where she coached field hockey, basketball, tennis, and softball. In 1971, she received her Master of Arts Degree in physical education from the University of Florida.

She was a pioneer for girls’ high school athletics in Mifflin County. Besides her many years as a softball coach at Chief Logan and Indian Valley, Jaynee also coached volleyball and basketball. Jaynee spent 35 years in the Mifflin County School District as a teacher and coach.

She was outspoken in her passion to promote girls’ sports to a level equal to the boys in both high school and collegiateathletics.

Jaynee has been a significant influence on my life since I was in a junior in high school.  Although I went to Kish and she taught and coached at Chief Logan, she wrote an article in the Sentinel about female athletes being second-class citizens. I had never met Jaynee, but she wrote that article in defense of our field hockey team,” Maclay said. “We were supposed to host a state playoff field hockey game, but because we got snow and they were afraid we would mess up the field too much for football, the game got moved to West Snyder High School.  I will never forget that article and how it made all the field hockey team, and female athletes feel important and recognized.

Her involvement in sports, education and serving others was a lifelong commitment. It was part of her DNA.

Jaynee officiated field hockey for 12 years. After retirement, she substituted in the county school system, specializing in autistic, life skills and learning support.

She was a lifetime member of the National Education Association and the Pennsylvania State Education Association. She was also a member of the Association of Mifflin County Educators, the Warrior Club, and a charter member of the Lady Lion Cagers Club.

Jaynee belonged to the Lewistown Women’s Bowling Association, of which she served several terms as president and to the Pennsylvania State Association of Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance and the American Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance for 39 years.

Education was paramount for Jaynee – whether on the softball field or in the classroom. Learning, mixed with good old-fashioned fun, made up her teaching beliefs.

My senior year was the first year of Indian Valley High School,and it was then that I met Jaynee as a teacher,” Maclay said. “She was always one of those fun crazy teachers and coaches who were all about the kids. You could tell she really cared about kids and loved what she was doing.

Even after her retirement and later health problems, you would still see Jaynee, front and center, at every Mifflin County High School sporting event.

Not only was she a terrific coach, but a fantastic human being. She touched the lives of many young athletes in the area and left a legacy that will endure with the Carolus Award and beyond.

When I graduated college and came back to Mifflin County to coach field hockey and teach, she became a mentor. She let me use her office and offered many words of encouragement and advice. She then became a friend,” Maclay said. “She took my kids and I to Raystown for many fun days on the lake, traveled to watch them play sports, let them drive her Lexus to the prom, taught me how to detail cars and traveled to watch Tennessee Lady Vols basketball with me. She was a mainstay at the softball playoff games each year. We always had lots of laughs.

She taught me to stand up for what I believe in and do what is right and in the best interest of kids,” Maclay continued. “Jaynee will be missed, but never forgotten.

She had a special philosophy of life summed up in these few words: “practice random acts of kindness. Be kind to everyone.Jaynee was, and even though she’s gone, her legacy will live on.

The 15thcentury Indian poet Ravidas sums it up best:

Grieve Not is the name of my town.

Pain and fear cannot enter there,

Free from possessions, free from life’s taxes,

Free from fear of disease and death.

After much wandering, I have come back home,

Where turns not the wheel of time and change.

The citizens are rich in the wealth of the heart,

And they live ever free in the City of God.

Rest in Peace, Jaynee, you are now forever free.

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