Who can forget a wonderful teacher?
Coach: the Perry Reese story

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. Helping Kids - the Perry Reese Story

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Who can forget a wonderful teacher . . . .  

from the ashes, we rise

Coach Perry Reese
Coach Perry Reese

together we teach
"Fountain of Wisdom"

Someone who made a difference

One of the largest Amish communities in North America
This article was written 7-29-01, before Coach Reese died

BERLIN, Ohio (AP) - When this community learned its beloved high school basketball coach had a cancerous brain tumor, the news hit hard.

Within days, hundreds of people crowded hospital corridors waiting for a chance to talk to Perry Reese Jr., known affectionately as "Coach."

Former players flew in from Atlanta, Chicago, South Carolina, even Germany. And a prayer vigil drew 800 people, many who quietly cried as they reflected on the man who inspired their children.

"Other than God, he's probably the most loved person in Holmes County," said Doug Klar, whom met Reese 16 years ago while selling athletic equipment to Berlin Hiland High School.

The outpouring of love and support for Reese would be out of the ordinary in many communities. But what makes the display even more noteworthy is that the 47-year-old coach is the only black living in the middle of the world's largest settlement of Amish, a deeply religious group that shuns modern conveniences such as electricity, telephones and cars.

"From the very start, the community has been accepting of him," said Dave Schlabach, coach of the high school girls basketball team. "Here you've got a black Catholic man in a white Amish/Mennonite area - that didn't matter."

Reese fits in as coach and social studies teacher because he extols the virtues of the community: hard work, discipline and respect, said Schlabach. He called Reese the perfect match for a high school where about half the roughly 250 students' backgrounds are Amish or Mennonite, a less strict sect of the Amish.

Reese, who is also a social studies teacher, turned the small farming town of about 1,000 into a basketball community. Over the past 16 years, he has compiled a 304-85 record and led Hiland to its only state championship in 1992. The Hawks advanced to their third consecutive semifinal this past season.

"Hiland was put on the athletic map because of Perry," said Schlabach as he walked through the new high school gym that was funded by $1.3 million in private donations.

Basketball is so hot that 900. of the gym's 1,600 seats are for season-ticket holders and some people put in their wills who will get the tickets.

Reese, who had been suffering from memory loss, found out June 28 that doctors found an inoperable malignant tumor behind his left eye socket. His prognosis is bleak, and it is unclear how long he may live.

Jason Mishler, 18, who was one of the team's stars last season and considers Reese a "second father," was devastated. "When you have someone who wants you to succeed, you can't help but admire him," Mishler said. "Everything about him is so sincere. That's what makes him so unique. I would do anything for him."

Klar admires Reese's courage in his battle against cancer.

"To this day he says, 'You guys go home and go on about your life and don't worry about me,"' he said. "He doesn't want us to worry about him."

Reese, speaking from his farmhouse in nearby Mt. Hope on Thursday, feels uncomfortable about all the attention. He wouldn't talk about his life other than to thank the hundreds of people who have visited him and sent cards.

"There's been a lot of community support and I appreciate and respect that," he said

in nomine patris et filii et spiritus sancti

In the Name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit


"When Grief is Raw" . . . . [link]
his love remains
When God Created Teachers

First Black to Head a College
Jewish Grief, Loss, Mourning

Want to help? Would you send a gift to
Perry Reese Jr. Foundation, c/o
the Hiland Academic Boosters
P.O. Box 275, Berlin OH 44610

Coach Reese: Love and Respect, Sir

Tribute to a Modest Hero: Coach Perry

She made a difference - a century (plus) ago

To be a hero - some dreams linger still

Compassion : can it be taught?

Best Movies about Teachers

Teacher's (really do) Count

The Amish, Mennonites, and Plain People

Ohio's Amish Country - Official Site & Helps

Amish Heartland - Ohio - Shopping link

Nonviolence and the Peace Gospel

Conrad Lindes: JOY, a Quaker Witness


Never underestimate the difference you can make!
[Quint Studer]

We have an obligation and a responsibility to be investing in our students and our schools. We must make sure that people who have the grades, the desire and the will, but not the money, can still get the best education possible.

Michelle Rhee
Though unrelated to Coach Reese, Rhee's forceful
resolve to make a difference in education has
been a challenge to systemic inertia

Barack Hussein Obama II
44th President of the United States

Carolyn McCulley : letting her light shine

Strong Women and Weak Men

Some of the charges and rumors about Quakers are a bit humorous

I don't think anyone denies that Quaker women have a highly developed spirituality, nor does anyone deny that Quaker meetings tend to be gender-equal and egalitarian in their openness and structure (or lack thereof). But is that a bad thing? Is it a bad thing to have women whom Spirit can use? Such talents are all the more important and crucial when the men themselves lack the inspiration or "light" at a given Meeting.

In the public arena, certainly it was Quaker women who gave America its succession of women's movement, heavily influencing later waves of feminism and women's liberation. More than any other group, Quaker women were literally central to the women's movement (singular and plural) -- from Seneca Falls to Alice Paul, the credit or blame must be laid at the feet of some very strong and gifted Quaker women.

As to the charge of weak Quaker men, is it a coward who takes a stand for peace, when the whole world is clamoring for war and violence? It takes incredible courage to take a stand for conscience as a pacifist, in favor of love and non-violence.

Taking it like a man. Can you take it like a man? It takes a real man to join Jesus in Gethsemane or accompany the martyrs on their via dolorosa,

In her book, Against Our Will, Susan Brownmiller instances the case of Stephen Donaldson, a young Quaker in the Langley Hill Monthly Meeting, who took part in a group influenced by "a series of pray-ins at the White House sponsored by the Community for Creative Non-Violence (CCNV)" who felt a call to "hold a memorial meeting for worship at the White House to commemorate the nuclear bombing of Nagasaki [on its 28th anniversary] and for the victims of all wars and violence" on August 9, 1973. Arrested and held in the DC jail, Donaldson refused bail rather than go against his conscience.

The upshot was that while incarcerated there, over a two day period, he was gang-raped literally dozens of times by an estimated 45 male inmates. He suffered a repeat of the preceding on a second night while authorities, for all intents and purposes, turned a blind eye. Ultimately, afterwards, he managed to escape from the thugs tormenting him (two of whom were pimping him to the others for cigarettes).

AFTERMATH: Not claiming to be a saint at all, Donaldson made the announcement that he had chosen not to prosecute the Negroes who had brutally raped him. Was it unconditional love? Was his forgiveness Christlike? Donaldson reserved the option of suing the DC jail, but did not want to add to the suffering of the blacks, who were already victims of the system.

After prayerful consideration with his Langley Hill Meeting (Quakers), Donaldson decided on October 20 not to file a civil suit and to not cooperate with the grand jury inquiry into a criminal suit against his attackers.

Put Children First

Mother Teresa Two Souls
formerly on Geo Cities

Robert Shepherd
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The New Martyrs

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