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."