Taravella Athletic Director Dead At Age 46 From COVID-19

By Sharon Robb

CORAL SPRINGS, August 21, 2020—The high school sports community is mourning the death of well-liked J.P. Taravella High School Athletic Director Jason Stein.

Stein, 46, died Thursday due to complications from COVID-19, Taravella principal Mary DeArmas announced on Twitter. His family was by his side when he passed away. DeArmas announced a memorial tribute for Stein would be held Thursday 8:30 p.m. on Zoom on the high school website to “pray or just be together.”

“Our hearts are heavy today with the passing of our beloved athletic leader, coach, mentor and friend,” DeArmas tweeted. “Please keep his family in your thoughts and prayers.”

Stein had been hospitalized since late July. His condition appeared to be improving. He had been taken off a ventilator and was breathing on his own but took a turn for the worse earlier this week.

Stein coached the Trojans’ baseball team (2004-2011). He earned Large School Coach of the Year honors in 2008 and took over as athletic director in 2011. His education career spanned 15 years.

Condolences have been pouring in from throughout South Florida on social media including a post from the Coral Springs Police Department.

“Coach Stein was a dear friend to our department and many of our Officers. It is with a heavy heart we hear of his passing. Our thoughts and full support are with the students, faculty, and the family of Coach Stein. May he rest in peace.”

Stein is survived by his wife of 22 years, Michele Wajser, Coral Glades High School assistant principal, and two daughters, Ilana, 20, and Hailey, 15.

“Jason was one of the finest, most genuine human beings that you will ever come across. He always made you feel better when you were in his presence,” said longtime friend Mark Montimurro.

A Jason Stein Memorial Fund on GoFundMe has been established and has already raised $9,436 of the $50,000 goal in four hours.

“Jason was the first person to always help anyone out, even to change a tire in the middle of the night,” said organizer Lori Waiser. “His kindness, generosity and willingness to go the extra mile sum up who he was. He was a father figure and mentor to many as the Athletic Director at J.P. Taravella High School in Coral Springs, Florida.

“We hope we can all wrap our arms around Michele and the girls during this most difficult time. We know Jason will always watch over Michele, Ilana, Hailey and everyone else he loved.

“Thank you Jason for your beautiful smile, you brightened up everyone who came in contact with it and we are all better people for knowing you. You are beyond loved and we will miss you like crazy and will always be thinking about you through every step of our lives.”

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com

FSU Swimmer, Former St. Andrew’s Swimmer, Water Polo Standout McKenna Keith Diagnosed With Hodgkin’s Lymphoma

By Sharon Robb

TALLAHASSEE, September 6, 2018—McKenna Keith, a St. Andrew’s School All-American swimmer and now a Florida State senior, has been diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.

The disease is a cancer of the lymphatic system. She is undergoing chemotherapy through December and hopes to return after her treatment is complete.

Keith, whose family lives in Boca Raton, lettered in swimming and water polo for four years at St. Andrew’s in Boca Raton. She was a three-time All-American in the 200- and 400-yard freestyle relays and 400-yard medley relay.

Keith transferred to FSU last season after starting her collegiate career at South Carolina where she swam her freshman and sophomore seasons, competed in four events and had six Top 10 finishes during the regular season. As a freshman she was the team’s top sprinter. She was named to the 2017 Winter SEC Academic Honor Roll.

Her FSU teammates have set up a GoFundMe account to raise money for her rent payments. Keith has a lease at her school apartment and is responsible for rent in addition to medical expenses.

The page reads “on top of all of the medical costs she is already facing, we do not want rent and utilities to be an extra burden for her family.

“We want McKenna to be able to come back and be able to live in her room in our apartment without any worry about violating or cancelling the lease. The Seminole family is behind her every step of the way as we anticipate her healthy return next semester.”

As of Thursday, $6,175 has been raised.

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com