WSJ coach Sylvain walks away from the classroom

Published 11:45 pm Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Long-time football and head boys track coach at West St. John High School Martin Sylvain recently announced that his plans to retire not only from the sidelines, but from the classroom.
Sylvain stepped down in 2010 as the Rams’ head boys track and field coach after guiding the Rams to a fourth-place overall finish at the 2009 state meet. Sylvain took the track team to its highest point, a state runner-up finish in 2005.
But at 49 years of age, Sylvain now steps away from teaching.
“I am really thankful to God to have been able to teach in the community where I was raised, to teach the children of parents that I attended school with. It made teaching more than just a profession. It made it personal, Sylvain said.“
Coach Sylvain taught health and physical education at West St. John Elementary School for sixteen years. During his teaching tenure, he was the founder and creator of the health class that all sixth and seventh graders now attend.
Helping the students of West St. John learn how to lead a healthy life was and remains a passion of his.
“When I leave the system, I truly wish there will be greater commitment to health & physical education,” he said. “It is very disheartening when two classes are combined into one, and 40 kids are unable to get the physical activity they need in barely 30 minutes of PE.
“We are shooting for the highest standardized test score when there are real wellness issues that could impact their lives long term. I had students that were obese, hypertensive, and diabetic. I firmly believe that students’ health is equally important as test scores.”
While at WSJE, Sylvain founded the first Athletic Banquet for middle school athletes.
In addition to coaching on two state football championship teams (1998 and 2004), Sylvain also coached middle school basketball, football, and track & field.
“I approached coaching as a father would with his son. Every individual that I coached I did with love and passion.” said Sylvain.
Although Sylvain will no longer be teaching, he said his heart would always be with the children of his community. He intends to stay connected through his involvement with the Tyson Jackson Foundation, which currently sponsors school supplies, an etiquette program, and P.E. equipment at WSJE School. It also supports the Rudolph G. Dinvaut Foundation and sponsors the Tyson Jackson Leadership Scholarship.
As he moves on from teaching, Sylvain says he will be pursuing business prospects in the U.S. and abroad. His trip to South Africa this past September as a New Orleans delegate opened doors that he calls ‘divine acts.’
“I am grateful to my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ for creating the business opportunities that I will be pursuing,” he said. “It’s going to be fun.”