The picture of Jerra in Antigua, Guatemala is a good representation of who Jerra Rowland is before and after retirement; teacher, coach, and an amazing Rotarian. Below is a letter I recieved from one of Jerra's former Monta Vista High School students. It pretty much says it all about a great human being who never loses sight of helping others.
Emily Zander Roben writes:
"Aside from my own family members, the person who has been most influential in my life, is - without a doubt - my high school field hockey coach, Jerra Rowland.
She taught me about many important things: the rules of field hockey, how to put on my goalkeeping gear, and countless lessons about sportsmanship, school spirit, and loyalty to a team. And although it sounds like a cliche college entrance essay, there are a few lessons that I learned from Jerra that have been helpful far beyond the hockey field:
1. Be aggressive but not abrasive. Jerra always encouraged us to practice and play with controlled aggression. Field hockey is all about ball control; you can't be the first person to get to the ball if you aren't aggressive. In field hockey, like in so many other things in life, you have to know what you want and work aggressively to pursue it. That said, Jerra also encouraged us to keep our aggression under control, and to never play dirty. It wouldn't feel good to accomplish something if it meant stepping on someone else to do it.
2. Be confident but not hot-headed. Jerra is a strong, confident woman. She projects authority and she demands respect, but she is never egotistical or threatening. She set the expectation that we would all behave the same way. Our team had some shy, quiet members; Jerra forced them to come out of their shells and be more vocal and confident. Our team also had some members who tended to act like bullies and projected a sense of self-righteousness. Jerra was not tolerant of this behavior. When we were on the field together, we were all the same - strong, confident young women. I've taken the confidence I learned from Jerra with me to many places in life - college, medical school, and beyond. I always hope to exude confidence but remain approachable, and never allow my confidence to confused for arrogance.
3. Be yourself, and be a team player. A field hockey team is full of people with a variety of personalities and skill sets. Jerra made us into a team. She allowed each player the freedom to have an opinion, speak her mind, and express her concerns. She encouraged each of us to have personality and be unique. But she also reminded us that our mission and our purpose is to be a team. This lesson is important in many parts of my life; my co-workers are an amalgam of temperaments and talents, but we all have to work together. Knowing how and when to put my own desires aside and think of the team first has made me into a better classmate, co-worker, sibling, and wife.
When I look back at all of the lessons that I took from the hockey field out into the real world, I realize how lucky I am to have a person like Jerra in my life, and I don’t think I would be the person I am today without her."