She was nominated for the honor by a group of her students, spearheaded by Doreen Rod, who wrote testimonials which were then edited and condensed to the required 100-word limit by instructional assistant (and DisPatches editor) Bobby Bradford.
"Jessica Naythons has inspired and motivated hundreds of physically disabled men and women to exercise to their very limits, and live full, healthy lives," said the composite nomination testimonial. "An instructor in College of Marin's Adaptive Physical Education Program for almost 20 years, she works with students from 18 to 94, with MS, head and spinal traumas, CP, stroke victims and heart attack survivors. Some quotes from her students: 'dedicated and compassionate... awareness, knowledge, caring and a sense of humor... constant and responsible... an extraordinary person... symbolizes the spirit of the Olympics... Every day, Jessica is a torchbearer sending special sparks of strength and encouragement...'"
Dozens of her students, and many others as well, lined Magnolia Avenue in Larkspur to cheer her on.
"I knew it would be exciting," said Naythons, "but I had no idea how big a thrill it would be until the actual day came."
After a one-semester sabbatical to study adaptive yoga techniques, Naythons will be back in the College of Marin gym this summer.
photo by Felix Brunot
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