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Jackie Robertson, right, shows Bemidji State University freshman Taylor Lemke the proper technique for holding a kettlebell. Monte Draper | Bemidji Pioneer

Teaching 'round the clock

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There isn’t much free time in Jackie Robertson’s world. And that’s the way she likes it.

Robertson came to Bemidji from Inver Grove Heights in 2006 to play hockey for the Bemidji State University women’s team. During her four years Robertson became a leader of the Beavers, earning the captain’s role as a senior.

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Her work ethic, determination to succeed and dependability surfaced during her time with the Beavers as Robertson played in 144 games, a mark that is third on the program’s career list.

Robertson also played in 132 consecutive games and ranks seventh all-time in that category.

Jackie Robertson, assistant coach for the BHS girls hockey team, talks to players during tryouts. Monte Draper | Bemidji Pioneer

“Jackie is a real tiger,” said BSU women’s hockey coach Steve Sertich. “She has a high battle level. She made up for any shortcomings with her tenacity.

“When I looked down the bench I always saw Jackie ready to go.”

Robertson came to BSU after a very successful high school career at South St. Paul. During her tenure there the Packers won three state high school championships and had an 86-game winning streak.

“When I was choosing where to go to school it was between Bemidji and Mankato,” the 2010 BSU graduate said. “I looked at the things I could do in Bemidji compared to what I could do in Mankato and I chose to come here.

“I’m still here because I like the area. After graduation I went to Alexandria for the summer and applied for jobs but then I landed a job in Bemidji teaching physical education and adapted physical education at Northern Elementary and Paul Bunyan Elementary,” Robertson added. “And I’m glad everything worked out as it did.”

Jackie Robertson teaches a modified pull-up to first grade students at Northern Elementary. Monte Draper | Bemidji Pioneer

A full-time teacher in the Bemidji School District is Robertson’s “day job.” But most weekdays her schedule begins at 5:45 a.m. and continues well into the evening.

During that time span the physical education and health major teaches fitness classes at the BSU Gillett Fitness-Recreation Center, is a personal trainer, set up and implemented a training regimen for the Bemidji State women’s basketball team, supervised the after-school weight room at Bemidji High School and, during the winter, is the assistant junior varsity BHS girls hockey coach.

“I squeeze everything in when I can,” Robertson, who also taught fitness classes at Snap Fitness and HealthQuest during the weekends, said of her hectic pace. “But I’m staying away from the Snap and HealthQuest jobs during the hockey season.”

BHS head girls hockey coach Bob Brink said that Robertson is the perfect coach for his junior varsity players.

“Jackie brings a different perspective to the girls because she is a Division I player,” Brink said.

“You would think that most people would be running ragged if they had her schedule,” Brink continued. “But Jackie just keeps on going. She’s an inspiration to all of us. I know she is an inspiration to me.”

 Jackie Robertson describes an activity to her fifth grade class at Northern Elementary School. Monte Draper | Bemidji Pioneer

Robertson is the ideal teacher for elementary students. She loves working with children and says that their enthusiasm in infectious.

“Teaching physical education to kids in kindergarten through fifth grades is awesome,” Robertson said. “Those are fun ages, the kids come to school excited every day and I get to play games all day long.

“It is a very rewarding profession,” Robertson added. “At that age kids are developing their basic skills. They are trying to figure out what they like and what they don’t like. And we do a variety of things to give them a chance to try a little bit of everything.”

Robertson also is a certified instructor in group fitness classes (kettlebells, cycling and Pilates), Zumba and personal training. Working with adults during the group fitness sessions provides balance to her elementary physical education duties.

“During my day I have the chance to teach elementary, high school and adults and that variety is fun,” Robertson said. “The adults want their fitness classes and their personal training and when you take (a class or a session) away they miss it.

“When someone first comes to the fitness class or for training you set goals and those goals will not be met if you take time off. That’s why I try to do what I can to keep them going.”

Robertson has made one concession to her schedule now that the hockey season has started. She has decided to give up teaching fitness classes on Mondays.

“I’m trying not to wear myself out so I decided to take Mondays off,” she said. “Instead, I’m going to play in a men’s hockey league at the Sanford Center on Mondays. That is something I want to do for myself.”

 “Jackie is proof that if you put your mind to it you can do it all,” Brink said. “She is a reminder that you can find the time and that there is no excuse for not getting a job done.”

“I enjoy my life, I enjoy Bemidji and I really enjoy my different jobs,” Robertson said. “I guess that’s why I keep doing everything I can.”

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Pat Miller is the sports editor at the Pioneer.

(218) 333-9200
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