J.H. Williams teacher to be recognized at halftime during Saints game
Jason Harrington, like most around the state, will be watching the New Orleans Saints take on the San Francisco 49ers Sunday afternoon.
Harrington, however, will have a better view than most.
The J.H. Williams teacher will be on the sideline at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Harrington is being honored as the Chevron/Saints Teacher of the Week. The program is set up to recognize a teacher’s effort at each Saints home game.
“I’m excited,” Harrington said Friday morning. “I was nominated by the (Vermilion Parish) district and I got picked for this week. I get to spend the whole game down on the field.
“This is pretty cool.”
While Drew Brees and the Saints will take center stage most of the afternoon, more than 70,000 pairs of eyes will be on Harrington at halftime. Chevron and the team will present Harrington with a certificate, as well as an autographed Saints football at that time. A video of Harrington and his students will also be played on the Superdome’s big screen.
“It will be a different feeling,” Harrington said of going on the field with that many watching. “I think it will be OK. I’m sure I will be nervous and excited at the same time.
“As long as I stay on my feet I will be all right.”
Harrington has definitely found solid footing in the classroom. He is in the midst of his third year as a 7th-grade language teacher. All of those years have been at J.H. Williams, a school that once knew Harrington as a student.
“I came to school here at J.H. Williams,” said Harrington, an Abbeville native. “It’s special to be here. Mrs. Ardoin’s old classroom is my classroom now.”
Teaching in any classroom was not in younger Harrington’s career plans.
“If you asked me 10 years ago,” Harrington said, “that would have probably been the last thing I would have wanted to do.
Harrington, who is also a long-time musician, earned an art degree. It was after he got married and helped with his step-children’s homework that a spark ignited.
“I quickly realized how much I enjoyed it,” said Harrington. “It just felt like something I could do. I went back to school and got certified and came here to J.H. Williams. I can see myself doing this for a while.
“It really would have been one of the last things I would have ever imagined I would do, much less enjoy doing.”
Harrington is happy he is doing it at J.H. Williams.
“I love it over here,” Harrington said. “The students are working hard and there are a lot of good things happening.”
Along with teaching, Harrington has other passions.
“I’ve been playing music professionally for about 15 years,” he said.
Harrington also played a key role in the community play “In the Wake of Time” earlier this year.
“We had quite a few students from J.H. Williams who participated in it,” Harrington said. “I saw it as a way to strengthen the relationship with some of those students.
“I wanted to pull some community support back into the school.”
Harrington and his wife, Joeann, will be leaving this community Sunday to head to the fun of New Orleans. That will include an early look at the Saints.
“We are going to drive in early Sunday morning,” Harrington said. “We are going to go to the Superdome early before that game and see some of the pre-game warmups.”
It is going to be a big day. While the opportunity of being able to go to the game and be honored there both matter, it is being honored that is most special to Harrington.
“Teaching is something I feel strongly about,” he said. “It means a great deal to be recognized for it.”