Peekskill Schools Unveil Jason C. Paige Fitness Center

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Peekskill Students Afua Yeboah, Qiana Malcolm and Venecia Smithson perform "Over the Rainbow" with help from chorus director Lawrence Del Casele as part of the Jason C. Paige Fitness Center opening ceremony. Photo Credit: thedailypeekskill
Peeskill Schools Athletic Director Lou Panzanaro discusses the creation of the new Jason Paige Fitness Center at Peekskill High School. Photo Credit: thedailypeekskill
The Peekskill School District unveils the Jason Paige Fitness Center Photo Credit: thedailypeekskill
Members of the Paige family unveil the Jason C. Paige Fitness Center Tuesday. Photo Credit: Art Cusano
The center will be used by Peekskill High School athletes. Photo Credit: Art Cusano
Jason C. Paige's son Jaquon Paige reads the plaque created to honor his father. Photo Credit: Art Cusano
Deacon Jacob Paige, Jason's father, gave the invocation. Photo Credit: Art Cusano
Peekskill Mayor Mary Foster presents a proclamation from the city honoring Jason Paige. Photo Credit: Art Cusano
County legislator John Testa,a Peekskill High School teacher, also helped honor Paige. Photo Credit: Art Cusano
Mel Buress and the African American Men of Westchester presented the school with a $500 donation towards the new fitness center. Photo Credit: Art Cusano
Tuesday Paige McDonald talked about her brother, Jason, and introduced members of the Paige family. Photo Credit: Art Cusano
Current and former members of the Peekskill Board of Education came out to honor Paige. Photo Credit: Art Cusano
Superintendent James Willis spoke about Paige and the new fitness center. Photo Credit: Art Cusano
Former Peekskill Schools Superintendent Judith Johnson spoke of Paige, one of her former employees. Photo Credit: Art Cusano
The plaque honoring Paige outside the new fitness center Photo Credit: Art Cusano
The plaque honoring Jason C. Paige outside the new fitness center that bears his name. Photo Credit: Art Cusano

PEEKSKILL, N.Y. ‒ Members of the Peekskill School District community took time to remember one of their own Tuesday.

The district unveiled the Jason C. Paige Fitness Center, named after a former school employee who died suddenly in 2010 of a heart attack. The center is in Peekskill High School. 

Paige was a Peekskill native and 1988 Peekskill High School graduate who served in the Marine Corps and became a New York City Police Officer in 2001.

Paige was co-founder of the Peekskill Pop Warner Football League and a member of the African American Men of Westchester. He also served as an adviser for the Peekskill High School Black Culture Club 

But it was his time as an attendance teacher that endeared him to the community.

Former Superintendent Judith Johnson said Paige's dedication to students went above and beyond what was expected of him.

"Jason showed up in the office of a superintendent in another school district without my knowledge to check on a kid," Johnson recalled. "The superintendent called and asked me, 'When did I start sending employees to my schools?' and I said it had to be Jason and I was right. He was taking care of children ‒ that was Jason."

The center was made by possible through a generous donation from Kevin Grehan in memory of his father, James. James Grehan was a 1939 Peekskill High School graduate and all-star athlete who went on to become a pioneer in high school sports broadcasting in Westchester County and founder of the Freemont Athletic Club.

The African-American Men of Westchester also donated $500 to the new fitness center in honor of Paige.

Paige's sister, Board of Education trustee Tuesday McDonald, thanked the district's leadership and staff for making the new center possible.

"Jason would be overwhelmed and humbled by the love and community unity," McDonald said. "Jason always had the ability to bring people together, and tonight is no different. He loved people, and he had compassion that you just don't see every day."

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