Jean Lipski celebrated her 500th career win during the 2017 high school field hockey season.
The 36-year Lake-Lehman coach is starting off 2018 with more reason to celebrate, this time with an honor for the off-field work she has done while succeeding on the field.
USA Field Hockey announced Jan. 24 that Lipski will receive its 2018 Field Hockey Humanitarian Award during the USA Field Hockey Hall of Fame and Awards Gala March 17 in Baltimore. Five new inductees to the Hall of Fame will be honored at the same event.
Lipski said she believes the Humanitarian Award is the result of two sophomore members of her 2017 team, Madeline Newman and Amy Supey, writing a letter to USA Field Hockey seeking recognition, possibly Hall of Fame status, for their coach. The traits the letter described led to her being selected for the Humanitarian Award.
“They talked about the extra things that we do,” Lipski said of the letter. “They talked about the Pink Game and the games we have had for local cancer patients, those fundraisers; and the water stations at the triathlon; participating in the Run for the Fallen Solders; Plays Days that we have; elementary camps; and that we invite kids from other schools, not just our school.”
Lipski’s passion for the game comes out through those in events, but also her belief that, as a teacher and coach, her positions of leadership also come with responsibility. She wants her students and players to not only see needs around them, but to do something to address them.
“I just have always felt that we were put here to help each other and that we’re all in this together,” Lipski said.
Working with kids, Lipski said, helps put her in a position to make a difference.
She has taught at Lake-Lehman throughout her 40-year career in education. Lipski started out as a language arts teacher and has added the gifted program and character development as her areas of specialization while working with Grades 7-12.
Lipski tries to work with her students outside the classroom and her players beyond the field.
“I try to teach not just hockey, but community service and fair play and respect for opponents and that type of thing,” said Lipski, whose program has earned multiple sportsmanship awards.
Her players’ letter describes Lipski and the Lake-Lehman program as accomplishing those goals.
“They feel as though when people think of Lake-Lehman field hockey, they have a positive feeling about us not just as hockey players but as community members as well,” Lipski said.