Our newest New Hampton School Alumni Spotlight comes to us from the class of 1996. Jason Silver took time to reflect on his days as a student and the path he has followed since graduation. From academics to his journey as a student-athlete, his career path, and advice to today’s students, Jason picks up on important connectivity themes in our community.
NHS: How did New Hampton School prepare you for college and life after college?
The main way it prepared me for college is that I could easily interact with a diverse population when I arrived at college. At NHS, I was playing hockey, living in a dormitory and engaging in a variety of social activities; having those experiences at NHS and being on your own at the age of 15-16, living with students from Asia and Saudi Arabia, exposed me to so many different cultures and values. I had to assimilate myself at an early age, and this helped me enormously with adjustment to college life.
In my life after college the lessons, I learned at New Hampton School would guide me in both my personal and my professional relationships. Mark Tilton remains one of the most influential educators in my life. I still remember his famous quote, “The reason most people fail, instead of succeed, is because they sacrifice what they want most, for what they want at the moment.” This is such a powerful quote and it continues to guide my life and career paths. I couldn’t tell you what my grades were as a sophomore at NHS, or if we beat KUA or Holderness my junior year, but I remember this quote every day as it is an inspiration for how we need to live our lives.
NHS: Share with us your journey to your current career choice and what you are doing in Pittsburgh.
Having served in an academic support and operations role with the Volunteer Football program or six seasons, I was fortunate to establish many relationships that fostered my desire to be an active and critical part of the lives of athletes going on to pursue professional playing careers. With that, I became certified by the NFLPA as a Player Agent, representing NFL players in their contract negotiations as well as their off-field marketing and endorsement opportunities. I was a member of Steinberg Sports and Entertainment, one of the leading agencies in the business.
Having found a niche and desire working with players as they transitioned out of the NFL into second careers, I currently work with former professional and collegiate athletes in retracing their roots to become heavily involved in the communities in which they once played and/or now reside. This has become more than a profession for me, but rather a passion. Leveraging their playing experiences and relationships into successful second careers and protecting their assets and personal pursuits is my primary focus.
A glaring example of my current pursuits is a business I recently started with former NFL standout, Josh Miller. Josh played for 13 seasons in the NFL, winning a Super Bowl ring with the New England Patriots. Josh and I had crossed paths many times through the years, and always knew we’d do something together in our next chapter’s. Together, we recently launched Bardownski Hockey. One of the main verticals, providing fully customized and personalized hockey sticks to teams and organizations.
Also, I am currently the Varsity Hockey Head Coach at Fox Chapel High School. In this position, I’ve been able to implement former Head of School Jeff Beedy’s Total Human Development philosophies, combining athletics with academic support, helping students find what they are passionate about and transferring that passion across all aspects of learning and participating in athletics.
My time at New Hampton definitely sparked the coaching interest and lead me to find where I can be involved and help support the individual–those things are truly engrained into what I do as a coach, due to my experiences at New Hampton.
NHS: As it relates to current students, what would you tell them if you knew then what you know now?
Seize the day because nothing is guaranteed–at times to a fault I took for granted the actual opportunities for support, inclusiveness, and love–the opportunity to live and learn and play in such a welcoming community as New Hampton School. Knowing the things that happen in the world–terrorist threats, natural disasters–that affect people’s lives in a very real way, you have to make the most of your daily opportunities.
NHS: Why is it important for you to stay connected to New Hampton School and fellow alumni?
New Hampton School absolutely shaped the person I’ve become both personally and professionally, and how I am paying it forward to this next generation of 13-14 year olds up to collegiate and professional level. None of my life experiences and successes would have been possible without NHS.
NHS: Why are you interested in being a resource and possibly mentor to young alumni and current students?
My wife hears about New Hampton School all the time. I would love to share the lessons learned from my own NHS experiences with current students as a way to help them understand how important the community is, and how they will not truly understand all that NHS has to offer until after they have graduated.
Students are valued and supported by the amazingly talented faculty at New Hampton School. I would love to share my real-life examples of how what I learned at NHS has helped shape my life and continues to inspire me to want to give back in as many ways as possible to create a meaningful life.
Jason Silver attended New Hampton for three years, graduating in 1996. He went on to attend Skidmore College as a student-athlete. He played ice hockey for the Thoroughbreds, a team that was later inducted into Skidmore’s Athletic Hall of Fame. He also holds a Master’s degree in Sports Administration from the University of Tennessee.
Jason returned to his Pittsburgh roots in 2014, where he now owns Bardownski Hockey, a company focused on several verticals within the world of hockey equipment. Jason and his wife Lauren, who works at the NBC affiliate WPXI, reside in the Pittsburgh area. They are expecting their first child in June of 2018.