Peters named to Sports Legend Hall of Fame

13 years ago

 Jeanette “Nevers” Peters of Fort Fairfield is one of the newest inductees into the Maine Sports Legends Hall of Honors as of the Oct. 10 ceremony held at the Alfond Youth Center in Waterville. The honor is presented to men and women for their extraordinary commitment and work behind the scenes, both academically and athletically, with students in Maine.
SP LEGENDSPETERS C ARSH    Jeanette Peters was born in Island Falls, Maine and grew up on a farm. Peters is a long-time educator, department head and coach. She attended Ricker Classical Institute in Houlton and played on the volleyball team for Ricker College at the time. She then attended Aroostook State Teacher’s College, graduating in 1966 with bachelor’s degree in Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance.
    Because the college did not offer women’s varsity sports at that time, she played on all intramural sports and received the Gold Key, which was the highest award at the time for intramurals. 
    In 1966, Jeanette started teaching physical education at Caribou Middle School. She also coached cheerleading and helped with the Caribou High School track and field team until 1968.
    She moved to Virginia after her husband had been drafted and was attending Officer’s Candidate School there. They moved again to Baltimore City and she taught physical education and coached track at an inter-city high school.
    From there she moved back to Caribou to teach at the middle school while her husband served in Vietnam. After a short stay in Bangor, Peters went to work teaching physical education at Fort Fairfield High School in 1971.
    “Jeanette worked tirelessly as a physical education and health teacher and as a coach. She instituted a lifetime sports program at the school many years before it became the ‘fashionable’ thing to do. She gave the students many choices of activities for class, but they also learned to play and love sports.  Many of them are still involved with their learned activity today,” said one of her teaching colleagues, Darrylin Keenan. “Jeanette and her husband worked long hours with student athletes and never looked to be patted on the back or recognized. She was a true behind-the-scenes person, helping youth to succeed.  Having these athletes succeed and gain self-esteem was all the reward Jeanette needed.”
    In her teaching years at Fort Fairfield she developed a 30-foot climbing wall and built a sand volleyball court, a golf driving range and a putting green.
    “One of my greatest accomplishments that I will always remember,” Peter said, “was raising money to buy an adaptive bicycle for a handicapped child.” Her teams always helped serve Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner to seniors in the town.
    Peters’ field hockey team was Eastern Maine champions and runners-up in Class C.  Her softball teams didn’t miss qualifying for the playoffs and were Eastern Maine champions in 1988 in Class C and runners up in Class D in 2002. Her girls basketball team was Class B Eastern Maine runners-up in 1983.  She also coached volleyball, boys and girls soccer and middle school cross-country skiing. Her softball coaching career ended in 1993.
    “She was fiercely competitive and was an outstanding motivator, yet modeled outstanding sportsmanship to her players,” said Lynwood McHatten, a long-time basketball official. “I always wanted to be the very best I could be when I worked one of the games she was coaching because of the respect she conveyed toward me and some of my peers.”
    Jeanette received SAD 20 teacher of the year in 1996 and 2003. She was inducted into UMPI Athletic Hall of Fame in 1995. In 2003, she was named Maine’s Secondary Health and Physical Education teacher of the year.
    “She is the most generous, unselfish and hard-working woman I know with students and adults alike,” Keenan said.
    Peters and her husband, Ken, along with their two dogs and two cats reside in Fort Fairfield.