Carnegie Vanguard High School
During a conversation with his then-student Kellyn Lacour-Conant ’15 about her timidity, Bob Jonas asked her which animal would win any fight. “Being the nature nerd I am,” she recalls, “I unhesitatingly answered that a polar bear would.” “Be a polar bear, then,” Jonas told her. But as the school’s volleyball coach, he also taught her that volleyball, like life, was “a game of intellect—the bigger, louder team may have a brutish advantage, but any opponent can be bested with enough astuteness and endurance.” Lacour-Conant carried Jonas’ advice through high school and her four years at Amherst. His influence prompted her to nominate him for a Swift Moore Award. According to Lacour-Conant, Jonas is a “legend” at Carnegie Vanguard for quirky habits like consuming “nothing but steak and Mountain Dew” and taking “full advantage of the campus courtyard to suntan during free periods.” Beyond these whimsical traits, though, his students remember—and revere—him for what Lacour-Conant calls his “unflappable belief in the potential of his students” and his “uncommon compassion” for them, even in light of the socioeconomic disadvantages that many of them face.