On May 20th, nearly 100 students, teachers, alumni, board members, friends and family of Coach Vicki Kieffer came together at Jarrell Middle School to honor her life and friendship, and to officially open the doors on Kieffer Memorial Gym.
Coach Kieffer passed away in 2017 from cancer and left behind a legacy of strength, commitment, generosity and laughter. She was a mentor, teacher and coach in Jarrell ISD since 2005 and was loved and admired by all who knew her and, as fellow coach Liz Boyd explained, “At one time she had taught or every single girl in the district and most of the boys. The impact of what she brought us has given us great joy.”
The JISD Trustees decided in 2017 when they opened a second elementary school that they needed a naming protocol. Policies were instituted and one year later, when it was time to name the first new school they began with nominations from the community and appointed a committee to decide. Based on community suggestions, it became apparent that there was a need for more than one name.
Superintendent Dr. Bill Chapman explained their conclusions; “This building, attached to the middle school, was the right place to recognize Vicki Kieffer. She taught in this building and this is the same gym she began coaching and spent so much time in. To me, it was even more important because the very first personnel move I made as Superintendent in 2012 was to name Vicki our head varsity volleyball coach. It means a lot to me recognize the impact she had and still has on our students and our school district. And I hope her parents will understand how much this day and Vicki meant to all of us.”
Vicki’s parents, Peggy and Garrett, sister Valerie and brother-in-law Jason were present as well to unveil the plaque.
Speakers regaled stories of her personality, dedication to her students and players, and how she always made personal connections with everyone around her. She loved everyone’s children and made an impact on all of them. “She was a sister, teacher, mentor, godmother, coach and friend.” They joked that only thing she was ever negative about was driving the school bus.
Alumna Lisa Gonzalez graduated in 2018 and spoke with equal joy and sadness about her former coach and friend. “I knew Kieffer my whole life; she’s actually my younger sister’s godmother. Everyone always says it, but she brightened up the room when she walked in. She was my coach and would always goof around with us but always got us back around to being serious. I didn’t realize it at the time but she taught us as much about life lessons as volleyball and always made sure we were having fun. I keep a purple ribbon on me or in my bag and she will always be in everyone’s heart. This is about celebrating her life. She still coached us after her diagnosis and wouldn’t take a day off because that’s how much she wanted to be here for us.”