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Thursday, December 18, 2014

Falls Church HS community honors memory of 'Coach CJ'

Swim team captains unveil the records board at Falls Church High School.
More than 150 Falls Church High School students, staff, and community members gathered at the school Dec. 17 for the unveiling of the Clayton Joyner “Reach for the Wall” Jaguar Record Boards. The boards honor Joyner, a FCHS graduate who served the school’s swimming coach from 2011 until his untimely death last May at age 29.

At the ceremony, FCHS Principal Michael Yohe read from a resolution passed by the school board Dec. 1 naming the record boards for Joyner. “As a coach and mentor,” the resolution states, Joyner “inspired student-athletes to focus on their goals, to train hard, and to commit themselves to become better athletes, citizens, and scholars.”During his tenure as swimming coach, 21 of the 24 swim and dive records at FCHS were broken, including Joyner’s own record in the 400-yard freestyle relay set in 2002.

Jeanne Kelly, director of student activities at FCHS, noted that when Joyner was a senior, he was named “most likely to be remembered.” Members of the swim team spoke about how Joyner not only inspired them in the pool but really cared about them. Joyner was also a swimming coach at the Holmes Run Acres Recreation Association for 11 years.

Clayton was not a stellar student at Falls Church, but he turned his life around and went on to earn a master’s degree, said his mother, Nancy Joyner, who has created an annual college scholarship program for FCHS swim team members in her son’s honor.

“Coach CJ made a difference in your lives,” she said. “This is your chance to make a difference, to put your name on the wall and inspire others. Always reach for the wall, in academics, in athletics, and in life. If you do, the spirit of Coach CJ will live forever.”

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