In 1997, I was 19 years old and in my 2nd year of college. I also began working at the Mayor’s Office in Jersey City. I remained there until I was 22, first as an intern and then progressing to the administrative assistant to the Director of Communications. It was during my tenure working for the City of Jersey City that I first had the pleasure of meeting Mr. John Nagel. A busy man, always in a hurry to head into this meeting or to that event, (much like today, 20 years later!) he always had a moment to stop and say hello. If something great was accomplished by a member of Communications, he was the first to give a quick but thoughtful word of praise or congratulations. If I needed information for a press release or a seal of approval from his Department on an upcoming promotion for an event, Mr. Nagel, (as I called him back then) was always able to assist me in order to get the job done well and to ensure that the Mayor’s Office looked good!
How nice it has been this year, twenty years later to be able to once again work together with John Nagel, our Director of Athletics. Time has changed both of us, now I call him John and he jokingly refers to me as “Madame President”, but the same exceptional working relationship has not changed. The dedication to the job and the effort to ensure that SDA’s athletic program both looks and is exceptional has not changed. As a member of the SDA family for forty years now, (he began his time at SDA the year I was born!) as well as our Head Track Coach, Mr. Nagel has worked to uphold the mission of Saint Dominic Academy and its commitment to producing well rounded young women. He reaches out to girls who otherwise may not get involved and encourages them to reach their full athletic potential.
He leads by example as a coach and models how he expects all of our coaches to act. By emulating how to be a motivational coach, all of our young athletes, regardless of what sport they play, know that they are supported by a coach who truly cares for them, who wants them to be successful, but most of all, who wants them to truly enjoy the sport in which they are participating. What a wonderful gift to be giving our young women; the chance to be leaders on the various athletic fields and to engage in healthy competition, but at the end of the day to know that, win or lose, their coaches are proud of them! I think every young lady who has played on one of our sports teams can walk away saying “I had fun!” That’s Mr. Nagel’s goal as AD; to make athletics fun. And hey, if we have an impressive collection of trophies here at 2572, then so much the better!
From Dance to Softball, from Track to Tennis, he oversees it all, with a smile, a kind word and a space for every young lady who wants to try a new sport. Tonight, we will gather at our Athletic Dinner to honor our young athletes and celebrate all they achieved this year. Mr. Nagel and the coaches will coordinate the event and guests will see, they each downplay their role in creating successful student athletes in spite of all of the time they give to our athletic program. And so, I want to take a moment to thank all of our coaches for all they do each day for our students and for how dedicated they are to the athletic program at Saint Dominic Academy. You make our school well rounded, successful, and a welcoming place for everyone!
And to my friend of 20 years, Mr. John Nagel- your dedication to the mission of Saint Dominic Academy is extraordinary. For 40 years, you have been teaching the women of SDA how to “run like a girl” and I know you will continue to lead our athletic program to great things in years to come! Thank you John, for all you do for SDA!