By: Bryan Boggiano
The city commission posthumously recognized an educator and athletic director whose legacy continues to inspire.
Jason Stein received recognition Wednesday night for his impact on his students at J.P. Taravella High School and the community. Commissioner Shawn Cerra introduced the resolution and declared August 4, 2021, as Jason Stein Day.
“What resonated with me was his passion for baseball, love for his players, but more importantly, his loyalty to his family,” Cerra said.
Jason Stein passed away from complications of COVID-19 on August 20, 2020. He was 46.
Cerra discussed how Stein was not only a go-to colleague but also a close friend. He discussed Stein’s appreciation for his students, Taravella, and his job interview at Taravella, where he was the only applicant who wore a suit, even though it did not fit.
J.P. Taravella principal Mary DeArmas spoke too, while Jason’s wife, Michele Stein, accepted the recognition on his behalf.
“I wish Jason could see how much love he has gotten over the past year,” Michele said. “So many of his former students, colleagues, and the entire baseball community have reached out to show support and honor him.”
Michele said that the past year has been difficult, especially when she thinks about everything her husband will miss, including watching their two daughters grow.
“Their dad will not see them graduate, he will not walk them down the aisle, and he will not ever meet his grandchildren,” Michele said.
For their eldest daughter, Ilana, she said it breaks her heart to know that her father will not walk her down the aisle. She also thinks about her younger sister, Hailey, who will miss more special moments with her father.
Michele said that Jason’s death hit close to home for those who knew him. That is why people rushed to get vaccinated as soon as they were able to and take the pandemic seriously.
“I’m sad that people are not taking the opportunity to protect themselves that Jason never had. I wish he would have had an opportunity to get the vaccine that would save his life.” — Michele Stein
But, as COVID cases and hospitalizations increase across Broward County, Michele said that she feels saddened, especially as people refuse to get vaccinated. She said that it is important for people to protect themselves.
“I’m sad that people are not taking the opportunity to protect themselves that Jason never had,” she said. “I wish he would have had an opportunity to get the vaccine that would save his life.”
Ilana urged people to continue taking the pandemic seriously. She noted that the virus affects more than those at high risk and that thinking of others is crucial.
“Please get vaccinated and continue to wear your masks,” she said. “Trust science, do your research, and do your part in being responsible about COVID. Please, don’t let the tragedy that happened to my family happen to you.”
Ilana learned important values from her father, including independence, selflessness, honesty, and unconditional love. She knows her father’s impact extended well beyond her family, which included helping students graduate and attain scholarships.
What Michele hopes people remember most about Jason Stein is his kindness.
“He was the type of guy who would take the shirt off his back for someone else, give his last dollar to buy someone food if they were hungry,” she said. “He loved his family, his friends, JPT and the Yankees.”
Jason Stein lived in Coral Springs from 1999 until 2020 and started working at Taravella in 2003. He was a physical education teacher, department chair, head baseball coach, and driver’s education teacher.
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