By: Jen Russon
A former athletic director and beloved faculty member at J.P. Taravella High School will be immortalized with a baseball stadium in his honor.
Jason Stein, 46, died in August of 2020 after three weeks of battling complications of COVID-19. He is survived by his wife Michele Wajser Stein, assistant principal at Coral Glades High School, and their two daughters, Hailey and Ilana.
On Saturday, January 29 at noon, J.P. Taravella kicks off its memorial brick campaign with a free blue versus gray game where alumni will be dusting off their gloves and bats and joining in. Hotdogs and crackerjacks are on sale, along with the chance to purchase a memorial brick that can be personalized.
One of the first orders was from Principal Marietta DeArmas, signing off as Momma D on her brick.
“I can still hear him hollering down the hall at the kids. They all loved him,” Principal DeArmas said. “He was all bubbles inside. Loyal, kind, warm — a real-life teddy bear.”
She recalls in 2018 when Stein was especially welcoming and supportive when she joined J.P. Taravella. Her brick will be laid close to the late coach’s plaque, known as ‘Stein’s Heart.’
A student brick costs $26 and will be located closer to the bleachers. Premium bricks can run as high as $166.
Renovations to the field include a dedicated archway and new fencing — which took over a year to get approval from Broward County.
Emily Brown, a faculty member at Taravella, who coordinates the Jason Stein Memorial Project, predicts its completion in two to four years.
“I feel like I was meant to put this together,” she said. “I know what a great man Coach Stein was but had never met him. It’s a real blessing to work on this and get to know him posthumously.”
Brown added the support for Stein and his surviving family is just what you’d expect for a veteran of the Coral Springs school.
“An alumni here and former student of Stein’s, who wishes to remain anonymous, said we can count on him to make this new stadium happen,” said Brown.
Another colleague and the current head of the baseball team, Joe Giummule, said his history with Stein dates back to when the pair were still in their 20s — vying for the same job.
“We actually both applied for head baseball coach in 2003. He beat me out, but we reconnected again after he became athletic director,” said Giummule. “Renaming the field after him is something I’ve wanted to do for over a year.”
To donate by way of a memorial brick, friends of Jason Stein may order online or purchase with cash or check at the January 29 fundraiser kickoff event. J.P. Taravella High School is located at 10600 Riverside Drive.
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- Jen Russon has been a staff writer for Talk Media since 2018. She is also a novelist, copywriter and editor at Swallow Publishing, LLC.
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