High school staff member Jane Schiller takes two football players under her wing
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Whether it be working in library, or sitting at the reception desk or serving as assistant to the varsity football coach, Jane Schiller has worked in a variety of positions throughout her decade in the district. However, once Friday night rolls around, Schiller can be seen making her way to the stadium where she’ll stand alongside the 20-yard line of the football field, looking intently toward the players, her hands clasped close to her face in prayer.
Schiller has supported one or two players on the varsity football team each year, ever since the team’s first season.
“I felt that I could [help the players], I felt a heart to do that,” Schiller said. “I felt that it was a place where God would be able to use me, and I would love to do it.”
This year, senior Blake Pfaff and sophomore Carson Collins are the players Schiller occasionally buys drinks and lunches for, comforts through issues they are facing, and prays for. However, Schiller said, “God’s the one that chooses” the players she supports.
“I just wait and see. This year it was Blake [Pfaff] and I think God put him on my heart and everything and I thought that was gonna be it,” Schiller said. “But I just felt very strongly that I needed to meet [Carson] and talk to him, and when I did I just knew that God said ‘I think that Carson would be somebody you should take to,’ so I did.”
Schiller wears a football jersey with both players’ jersey numbers on it, and paints their numbers on her fingernails, as well as standing on the sideline where she says she “pray[s] for them every minute that they’re pretty much on the field.” Pfaff said Schiller’s support has helped him play the healthiest season of his career.
“I’m very excited about it because the past guys [that have been chosen] were guys that I always looked up to when I was a kid,” Pfaff said. “So being that person, I’m very thankful for it.”
To Collins, Schiller is “like another grandma,” and Schiller is very close to his family.
“She kind of influences me like in a spiritual way, always is a positive influence and is always encouraging me,” Collins said. “She helps me just relax and just be myself out there. She kind of takes the pressure away.”
Schiller says that Pfaff is “fun” and “a good leader,” and that Collins could “probably be, in my estimation, probably the best football player, best quarterback, that this school’s ever seen.” A football coach’s daughter herself, Schiller said she was “raised on a football field” and has a special perspective on what life is like for players.
“I know my football very well and I can sense when there’s an issue or something and I think that they need some support or something in a certain area I’ll do that, you know that type of thing,” Schiller said.
Both Pfaff and Collins used the same word to describe their feelings for the woman they call “Miss Jane.” Love.
“They know I’m always there,” Schiller said. “I never take my eyes off them.”