By Chris Edwards
WARREN – From setting records as a high school track and field standout to winning marathons as an adult, Amanda Jordan, a teacher and coach at Warren Junior High, has an iron resolve. Her determination is such that one of her former coaches said “you don’t let Amanda do anything. You either help her, or you get out of the way.”
Jordan, who is also an alumna of Warrior Country (Warren HS Class of 2006) received a surprise send-off last Friday afternoon in the Warren Junior High gymnasium. The venue was packed full of colleagues, family, friends and various well-wishers, and the happening was a complete surprise to the honoree. The event for which Jordan was feted was her upcoming competition at the World Championships in Ibiza, Spain.
Jordan, who is representing the United States in a duathlon event, a run-cycle-run competition, will compete this Sunday, April 30.
She qualified for the event last year, and said she is “so excited and blessed to represent the United States of America” at the World Championships.
“I am dedicating this race to my God, family, community and country,” she said.
Jordan joined the Tribe’s faculty two years ago, and coaches the Lady Warriors in volleyball, basketball and track and field. She is affectionately known as “Coach JoJo” around the district and is passionate about racing and coaching.
When Jordan competed in the qualifying rounds for the World Championships, she was clocked at the second fastest time in the nation. For her duathlon, Jordan will run a 10K, bike in a 40K race and then run a 5K. Her success in the event could result in her qualifying for the 2024 Summer Olympics,
which will be held in Paris, France.
Jordan was overjoyed by the outpouring of support at the surprise pep rally. “Whoa! I didn’t expect this,” she said to the crowd.
Her friend and colleague Sarah Mannino took to the microphone to speak about her first and said that in addition to her competitive obligations and the duties of her career, she is devoted to her family.
“If you don’t know her personally, you are missing out,” Mannino said. “Amanda and I have sat for hours and talked about her life and her training. Her stories are truly the best.”
Lin Ellis, who coached at Warren as a track and cross-country coach, spoke, and said he was immediately impressed with Jordan the first time he saw her run.
Ellis told a story of how Jordan, unbeknownst to him, ran in the state cross-country meet her senior year with a fever of 102 degrees. Jordan collapsed on the finish line, and when Ellis asked her why she did not tell him of her illness, she replied with “You wouldn’t have let me run.”
“She works like no one else you’ve ever met,” Ellis said.
Jordan said that she hopes to inspire and lead young people by teaching them how to mentally and physically tackle their goals, through consistent hard work and dedication.
The fervor of the yells for the beloved coach and educator coming from the crowd of students, faculty, staff and community members on Friday afternoon inside of the gym indicated that Jordan is, indeed, a role model and the unexpected hero’s send-off she received was well-deserved.