MNU news

Alum Wins FOX 4 Crystal Apple Award

Teacher and Coach Inspires Students

April 18, 2013

Mike Jasiczek, Olathe South sociology teacher and varsity football line coach, was honored today by FOX 4 WDAF-TV with the 2013 Crystal Apple Award. “Coach Jazz” was nominated for the award by Olathe South parent Laura Flynn, MSW. Flynn directs the family homeless shelter for the Olathe Salvation Army, where many of Jasiczek’s students have volunteered. Her son is also a lineman on the Olathe South football team. Jasiczek graduated from MNU with a bachelor’s degree in 2001 and a Master of Educational Technology in 2002.

Flynn nominated Jasiczek for his inspirational approach to teaching and coaching.

“At the beginning of each semester Jazz asks his students to identify their ‘superpower,’ Flynn said in her nomination. “He challenges them to truly look at who they are so they can get a better understanding of the people and groups around them. Additionally, he has them write down who they think they are and how they think people see them. Wow…this motivated them to not only do the best in the classroom setting but it stirred a movement amongst his students that turned out to be quite remarkable and life changing for some.”

Having helped his students start a sociology club, Jasiczek and Flynn met with the club leadership to brainstorm how students might give back to their community.

“The most incredible thing about this whole process is that it was all student led,” Flynn said. “Jazz merely planted the seed and let his students blossom.”

The students planned two events for the shelter. The first was to collect Christmas decorations and decorate the shelter for the holidays. The second was to hold a “reverse Santa Shop.” Flynn said 200 students assisted at the Santa Shop which allowed parents to “shop” for Christmas presents for their children.

“They collected toys for a “reverse Santa shop” so the parents could pick out gifts and feel like they were a real part of Christmas for their kids,” Flynn shared.

Flynn added, “If I were to state what I thought Jazz’s ‘superpower’ is…it would be inspiration!  And what parent wouldn’t want their child to be inspired every day at school?”

In honor of the award and his community involvement, Olathe Mayor Michael Copeland (’84) sent a congratulatory declaration from his office to Jasiczek and the Olathe South Sociology Club for their work with the Salvation Army. 

Jasiczek is married to Debbie (Buxie ’00) who works for Garmin International. They reside in Olathe with two dogs and a cat.

Watch the FOX 4 video here.

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