The Bridgehampton community was devastated by news that Mary Anne Jules, the former athletic director at Bridgehampton School, was hit by a work van while jogging in her Water Mill neighborhood.
Jules, 61, was in serious condition as of Wednesday at Stony Brook University Hospital, according to Southampton Town police, who are investigating the accident.
Jules had worked at the school as a physical education teacher and later the athletic director for 32 years before retiring in 2014. But she did not go far and her former students often saw her out on her long runs or around town.
Nia Dawson, who was the salutatorian of Bridgehampton’s class of 2017, wanted to do something to send “prayers and positivity” to the former AD, whom most people call Ms. Jules. “I thought it would be uplifting to start a challenge in honor of someone who exemplifies all that it means to be a standup citizen, role-model & community powerhouse in favor of justice and equality,” she wrote, asking her fellow Killer Bees, past and present, to take part.
“Growing up she always told me ’20 push-ups a day and you’ll be alright’,” Dawson posted with a video of herself doing 20 push-ups with the Wiz Khalifa song “Black and Yellow” playing, in honor of the Bridgehampton School colors. “So today these 20 are a lil rough but they’re dedicated to you Ms. Jules.”
“I want her to know how loved she is,” Dawson told IndyEastEnd.com. “My hope is that when she can view them, these videos will help to strengthen and heal her.”
She asked others to take a moment to make a video and post it with the hashtag #MsJulesChallenge. “Whether it’s 2 push-ups or 200… or something involving physical activity. Let’s just show her that her ability to continue to be active and fit while also teaching fundamental life skills has definitely spread like wildfire to this community and beyond. She was tough on us but I can’t thank her enough for that. Killer Bee strong!,” Dawson wrote.
While Dawson graduated after Jules had retired, she said her family has always been close with her. She is a senior at Baruch College, where she plays basketball, and “so much of what she taught me as a kid ended up grooming me for what was to come,” she said, Jules, would often send her texts to check in around this time as she prepared for a new semester.
“Ms. Jules,” Dawson wrote on Facebook, “You’re a strong warrior and we love you.”