Wyoming High School
I first met Earl Edmonds at the Healthy Kids Triathlon Race of the Countryside YMCA (a public relations client of mine) and there was something about him that just stood out to me. I could tell he really enjoyed being among the young athletes. Later I got to talking with him and realized there was a lot more to discover in his life’s work.
Earl’s long career included being a teacher and high school basketball coach at his alma mater, Green Hills High School (his first head coaching job), at Tallawanda High School, and at Forest Park High School before becoming a principal first at Princeton High School followed Milford Main Middle School. He went on to be an administrator at Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy before retiring in 2004 (although he still teaches Sunday school at his church). It has been a distinguished path that has earned him and his teams’ numerous accolades.
I wanted to know, where his inspiration came from. Let’s get to know more about Earl, one of Greater Cincinnati’s Hall of Fame basketball coaches.
Lisa: Who was someone who influenced the direction in your life?
Earl: “I was raised by my grandmother and grandfather who are both angels. We didn’t have a lot but what an education I got. I look back and give my grandmother so much credit for pointing me in the right direction. She taught me so much about how to treat people. I had a wonderful father who lived with us too, he just couldn’t take care of us on his own.
Lisa: Why did you become a teacher and a coach?
Earl: “The people I admired most in life were my coaches and so I always wanted to be a coach. I had a terrific English teacher who inspired me so I became a teacher. The people you admire in your life impact you. I also was always an athlete. I played football, baseball and basketball but loved basketball most. I loved teaching novels and grammar, but I also just love being around kids.
Lisa: What do you think it takes to be a good teacher and coach?
Earl: “I see coaching as teaching and teaching as coaching. To be a good coach, you need to break down the sport and teach the skills. You need to understand how to teach young people to achieve. In a classroom, I always felt like I had to coach and encourage kids.
As a coach and teacher, it is important to be positive, be truthful and honest with kids, get along with them but also you have to be in a position to make some tough decisions. You need to be able to relate to everyone, and create a genuine family feeling which involves loving one another like a family. It is the same with being the principal. Both students and staff have to feel that. Sometimes that human connection gets lost with all the paperwork but the most successful people make that a priority. You need to Instill respect for each other – similar on the basketball court and in a classroom. I am a believer in Johnny Wooden, who went on to win 10 championships at UCLA. I have read every one of his books.
Lisa: Of what are you most proud when looking back at your career?
Earl: “I had an opportunity to coach and teach both of my sons, which is a unique experience for a father to have and it was very rewarding personally. I loved being in that role as I got to know them in a way that I think many fathers don’t get to know their sons. I treasure that. My oldest boy is now the head basketball coach at Wyoming High School, and my younger boy just completed his 10th Louisville Ironman. I saw that toughness in him from being his coach.
When I was principal at Milford Main Middle School, the school was named to the Ohio Hall of Fame and that for me was like winning a state championship in basketball. I was there for five years.
Last April, I was named to the Greater Cincinnati Basketball Hall of Fame which was a huge honor. I got there from coaching some really great players and having a 70% winning career.
Lisa: Was there any advice you have received that you pass along to others?
Earl: “I remember hearing Lou Holtz speak once and he mentioned three rules to follow in life: Do the right thing. Do your best. Treat other people the way you want to be treated. Those three rules made a big impression on me and I try to bring that into my Sunday school class where I still teach, and in life.”
It is one of the most unique and broad reaching efforts to inspire lifelong wise and generous philanthropists. In its seventh year, nonprofit Magnified Giving kicked off the 2014-2015 school year by giving money to groups of students from a record 52 regional schools, with the charge of extensively researching, debating, discussing, and ultimately investing it wisely into causes of value to them. It all culminated with those more than 2,500 students collectively granting nearly $100,000 to 70 diverse charities in a series of awards ceremonies.
This is the second year that I have helped Magnified Giving spread the word about its impact. (You will probably be reading about it in a community paper near you soon.)
Four students were also recognized with Roger Grein Spirit of Philanthropy Award, nominated by teachers and selected for exemplifying the meaning of philanthropy as expressed through essays. Honorees included: Julie Gyure from Perry High School, Alex Deters from St. Xavier High School, Becca Faeth from Holy Cross High School and Katie Perry from Roger Bacon High School.
To truly understand the power of this organization is to read what these honorees had to say about how participating has changed their outlook, changed their life. Below are excerpts from their essays.
“This program has shown me that philanthropy is all about fixing our society’s problem of inequality from its roots, not just with monetary donations, but with time. Volunteering at organizations and taking your own time to get to know them and make personal connections. Using your talents, finding what you personally do well and then applying that to an organization, such as using an eye for fashion at Dress for Success, or culinary skills at a soup kitchen. A quote that my dad always says is ‘If you do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life.’ The meaning of philanthropy is use your time, talent, and treasures to do something you love that the common good can benefit from. Magnified Giving taught me that philanthropy isn’t just a definition written in my notebook, but it is a feeling that you demonstrate through giving back to the community.” – Katie Perry
“Mr. Grein came to speak to my service class at St. X, and I paid close attention to every word of his life’s story, especially the parts concerning his service and work for the common good. He was describing a particular moment in his life, in which he came to realize his love of service and the call he felt to serve, and realizing it or not, Mr. Grein articulated the exact conversion that was taking place in my heart….Deep within my heart, I began to feel a call to selflessness, a call to help my fellow man, but more than anything, a call to service. This call has changed my life irreversibly. I will never be able to see the world the way I did before, and I have decided I will live out this call to service wherever it may take me in my life, following Mr. Grein’s example.” – Alex Deters
“Roger (Grein)’s story touched my heart and I want to do something good for the world just like Roger did! The Magnified Giving program is just my first step! The program gives me the opportunity to go out in the world and lend a helping hand to those who need it. I can give my time, support, and love to people who struggle every day. Magnified giving has raised my confidence in becoming a better person. The program has helped me to see how easy it is just to help someone out whether by money, time, etc. I feel like I am an important part in this world because of this program. It helped me see that I want to help people and have a passion for helping others. The program has brought me closer to the outside world, it has brought my school community closer, and it even brought my family together.” – Becca Faeth
“By participating in civic and volunteer activities, I found my niche. I absolutely love working with people, especially when it is for the betterment of society. This has led me to an undergraduate degree at the University of Cincinnati in organizational leadership with a minor in human resources and nonprofit work. Now I believe that as long as one follows their passion; the size of a paycheck does not seem so important. Fast forward ten years. I plan to be working at a nonprofit such as Ronald McDonald House, St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital, or Make-a-Wish. I’ll be working alongside individuals who are all there for the same reason; to address an issue occurring in the community, working for justice. My team should consist of human resource gurus that not only focus on community needs, but the needs of their fellow co-workers. Together we will be able to apply our skills and talents to create a positive environment in the workplace and for the people we serve. Magnified Giving has set the path for my future and I will forever be indebted to this amazing organization for doing so.” – Julie Gyure
2014-2015 Participating Schools:
Participating Schools include Aiken High School, Anderson High School, Aurora, Badin High School, Bellevue High School, Bethel-Tate High School, Bishop Brossart High School, Bishop Fenwick High School, Catholic Central High School, Chaminade Julienne High School, Cincinnati Country Day High School, Colerain High School, Covington Catholic High School, Dater high School, Deer Park High School, DePaul Cristo Rey, East Clinton high School, Elder High School, Highlands High School, Holmes High School, Holy Cross High School, Indian Hill High School, Lakota East Freshman School, LaSalle High School, Loveland High School, Madeira Middle School, McAuley High School, McNicholas High School, Mother of Mercy High School, Milford High School, Mt. Notre Dame High School, Moeller High School, New Bremen High School, Notre Dame Academy, Perry High School, Purcell Marian High School, Reading High School, Roger Bacon high School, School for Creative & Performing Arts, Seton High School, Seven Hills High School, Shroder High School, Springer School, St. Henry High School, St. Xavier High School, Summit Country Day, Taft Information Technology High School, Taylor High School, Villa Madonna high School and Wyoming High School.
Cincinnati Bell, a partner of Taft Information Technology High School, donated the seed money for Taft’s grant funding.
This post was written by my intern, Andrea Francisco, a senior at Indian Hill High School in Cincinnati
On Friday, October 24th, come to Indian Hill High School for Touchdown for Downs, a fundraiser that will help fund important cognition research benefiting those who have Down syndrome. A few years ago, an Indian Hill High School student, Becca Daun was inspired by her brother to help fund its research. She created “Touchdown for Downs”, a truly awesome fundraiser that is held during one of Indian Hill’s home football games.
While interviewing my fellow classmate Carissa Contra, a volunteer for Touchdown for Downs, I asked her to tell me what this annual fundraiser is all about. She told me it benefits the Lumind Foundation and The Down Syndrome Association of Greater Cincinnati. “We are so excited to spread awareness and raise money for a great cause! From raffles to food and drinks, this event is all about having fun and raising money as a community,” she said
After asking her why this cause is important to her and how she got involved, Carissa responded, “Rebecca Daun and I started it to support her brother, Michael, who has Down syndrome, and just raise awareness around the community.”
If you’re wondering, the Lumind Foundation is a foundation that was established in 2004 to fund cognition research relating to Down syndrome. In essence, their mission is to “accelerate the development of treatments to significantly improve cognition, including memory, learning and speech, so they can participate more successfully in school, lead more active and independent lives, and avoid the early onset of Alzheimer’s disease.” Their vision is “not a cure, but treatments to improve memory, learning, speech, and ultimately independence.”
Similarly, the Down Syndrome Association of Greater Cincinnati is another organization that supports people who are impacted by Down syndrome through support programs, community groups, and advocacy work. The organization’s mission is to “empower individuals, educate families, enhance communities and together, celebrate the extraordinary lives of people with Down syndrome.”
Last year’s Touchdown for Downs was a great success: they raised more than $4,000! This year, they hope to have even more people come. This is an event that is sure to stay and create a lasting tradition at Indian Hill. Touchdown for Downs will be held at Indian Hill High School on 6865 Drake Road on Friday, October 24th at 5:30 P.M., where there will be food and drinks under the pavilion. Also, there will be raffles, T-shirt sales, and bake sales. At 7 P.M., Indian Hill will play its game against Wyoming and at halftime there will be a show including the participation of special-needs students. Please come out and support research benefiting people who have Down syndrome while having a fun time at Touchdown for Downs!
Last fall it was so wonderful to have been given the opportunity to learn about one of our region’s truly great philanthropists – Roger Grein when I helped raise awareness of his contributions. Roger has given to local nonprofits with his resources and his heart. However, his greatest legacy is in the hearts of thousands of young people in whom he and his Magnified Giving team of staff and volunteers have instilled long lasting generosity.
Magnified Giving is a nonprofit organization whose mission it is to educate, inspire, and engage students in philanthropy. Its vision of Magnified Giving is for every high school student in America, starting with the Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky area, to someday have the opportunity to learn first-hand how to be generous and wise philanthropists.
Each year, participating school groups are challenged to determine how they want to invest up to $2000 in a nonprofit. They research, evaluate nonprofit grant applications, fundraise to earn matching dollars – gaining leadership, communication, and teamwork skills as part of the process. This spring in a packed auditorium of over 600 students, teachers, nonprofits, donors, parents, and community leaders, nearly $50,000 was presented to causes doing great work.
“The most rewarding aspect of Magnified Giving is when what we do in the classroom reaches beyond the walls of the school in a tangible way. I see students ‘get it’ when they come back from a site visit,” said Julie Vehorn, director of curriculum and instruction at Roger Bacon High School overseeing her school’s Magnified Giving program.
Aiken College & Career
Cincinnati Country Day
Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy
Miami Valley Christian Academy
Mother of Mercy
Mt. Notre Dame
Notre Dame Academy
Perry High School
School for the Creative and Performing Arts
Summit Country Day
Madeira Middle School
Northern KY Youth Advisory Board
With support from the Mayerson Foundation High School Service-Learning Program, students from nine area Cincinnati high schools helped raise awareness about a child’s walk to school in Tanzania by walking through our downtown.
Teens from Aiken High School, Arlington Heights Academy, Finneytown High School, Gamble Montessori, Lockland High School, McAuley High School, Mt. Healthy High School, Ursuline Academy, and Wyoming High School/Wyoming Youth Services researched the needs in Tanzania through Village Life Outreach Project – a Cincinnati-based non-profit organization that partners with Tanzanian villages to design and implement sustainable projects to fight poverty, provide access to clean water and health care, and improve educational outcomes.
In rural Tanzania, East Africa, students walk nearly six miles to school, which can take up to three hours one way.
It was in 2010, when Wyoming and Finneytown High School students and staff supported the children in Tanzania by creating the “Walk in My Shoes” Challenge – a 5.5 mile walk in Cincinnati from Salway Park to Fountain Square. It was an effort that quickly spread.
Proceeds from the Walk help fund the Village Life Outreach Project Ugi Nutrition Program in Tanzanian schools. Ugi is a nutritious meal that feeds 1,200 Tanzanian students who walk to school per day and would otherwise go malnourished. The total cost to feed all 1,200 primary school children per year equals a daily cost of $0.04 per child.