Two years ago, at my first Athletic Dinner as Head of School, I told the following story about our Athletic Director, John Nagel:
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 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….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!
Today, as we prepare to celebrate our student athletes at our annual Athletic Dinner tonight, I am so very pleased and proud to be able to share the news that Hudson County has bestowed up our beloved Coach Nagel another accolade to add to his list of accomplishments. Last Tuesday evening, the running path at Lincoln Park was dedicated to John Nagel, in honor of his over 40 years of service to track and field as well as to girls’ athletics in Hudson County.
Tonight, at the dinner, he will speak very little about all he does for the young women at Saint Dominic Academy. His “MO” is to take a backseat always and let our young ladies shine…as well they should, for we have dedicated, determined and fearless athletes here at Saint Dominic Academy. However, I would be remiss if I did not laud this achievement; through my blog this morning and in my remarks at the end of the dinner later tonight.
Congratulations John, on this outstanding recognition and honor. The alumnae who have had the pleasure of running for you over the past 42 years know it is richly well deserved. Thank you for your dedication to Catholic education, to education for young women, and for teaching the young ladies of Saint Dominic Academy to “run like a girl” for many generations. We are lucky to know you!