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25 May 2007
JSU Coach Listens to Daughter's Valedictorian Speech over Cell Phone during JHS Graduation

By Jessica Otwell
Star Staff Writer

Reprinted here in its entirety.

Jacksonville High School graduates celebrate Thursday after the graduation ceremony.
Photo: Kevin Qualls/The Anniston Star

While Jacksonville State University head baseball coach Jim Case led his team to victory in game one of the Ohio Valley Conference tournament, a completely different game was being played back home.

Case’s daughter Catherine was addressing her graduating class as valedictorian at Jacksonville High School.

“I would’ve liked for him to hear me speak, but I wish I were there for him more than I wish he was here,” Catherine said after the ceremony.

Though he couldn’t be there in person, Jim Case was able to hear his daughter’s speech over his wife Jan’s cell phone.

“I was out at our game, so I had that noise, and there was a train going by, so I had to cover my ear,” Case said later. “But I think she did a nice job.”

Jan Case said that because baseball is a springtime sport, it isn’t uncommon for her husband to miss recitals, birthdays and graduations.

“But we’ve been everywhere watching baseball, and we’ve got to travel,” Catherine said. “He even mentioned me on the pre-game show on the radio this morning.”

In her speech, Catherine challenged her fellow graduates to “avoid the path of least resistance” and to be “good stewards of time, talent and knowledge.”

Though she gave advice to her classmates, she says her father’s guidance helped her reach this pivotal moment.

“My dad has told me that the best feeling in the world is to try your hardest and win. The second best is to try your hardest and lose,” she said. “That has always pushed me to try harder in everything I do.”

Catherine is a member of the National Honor Society and Mu Alpha Theta. She received an honors diploma, boasting at least a 90 average on the advanced academic program.

Catherine plans to attend University of Alabama at Birmingham this fall, where she plans to study physical therapy.

About Jessica Otwell

Jessica Otwell is an intern writer for The Star.

See story at The Anniston Star's website: .

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