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Superintendents’ Forum: Life Lessons from Legendary Coach

This article was originally published in the Reading Eagle: https://www.readingeagle.com/2023/05/11/superintendents-forum-life-lessons-from-legendary-coach/

By: Mr. Robert Scoboria, Wyomissing Area School District

Thursday, May 11, 2023

The Wyomissing School Board recently recognized our high school football coach’s 50 years of incredible service to the area by dedicating our stadium as Bob Wolfrum Field.

Prior to the meeting, I enjoyed sitting with Coach Wolfrum to discuss some highlights of his journey as an educator.  We did not talk about football and frankly, I would not have been able to contribute much on that topic. We spoke about core beliefs, leadership skills, and finding your place as an educator. We agreed that an athletic field, just like an auditorium stage or orchestra pit, is an extension of the traditional classroom. These are all places where skills can be developed and tomorrow’s leaders can be built. I was honored to listen, and the coach shared several strategies he has utilized with students:

• Be yourself — don’t try to be someone else

• Know your core beliefs and stick with them — this will guide you through success or setbacks

• Start with the basics — add complexity as students experience success

• Keep things simple — make sure students have “everyday drills”

• Never stop learning — strong teachers and coaches need to grow each year

• Have fun and enjoy the positive energy that happens when students reach goals

• Provide opportunities for students to become leaders

• Surround yourself with great people

• Do everything the right way — make sure parents and teachers are proud of your choices

• Make your community a better place — volunteer and contribute

Coach Wolfrum shared these words with confidence and precision formed through decades of experience — from elementary physical education classes, to teaching driver’s education, to patrolling the sidelines for more football wins than any coach in the history of PIAA District III.

As the conversation moved, we discussed the impact he has made here.  We spoke about the choice the coach made to start working at Wyomissing in 1974 and to stay here even when larger programs courted his services.  Since he became head coach in 1987, Coach has filled the program with dedicated assistant coaches representing a wide range of ages. These assistants provide our student-athletes with individualized instruction while ensuring the program can continue to be successful in the decades ahead.

We agreed that we need to encourage others to consider careers as teachers. Spartan Cadi Hoke is a current student who excels in academics, serves as senior class president and competes on multiple athletic teams. She shows equal passion while winning championships with her teammates or when helping Susan Wojciechowski’s third-grade classroom as an intern.

Cadi will head to Monmouth University in a few months to study education and is one of several Spartans who are interning with teachers or working with other school personnel to learn more about possible roles in education.

This fall some of our high school students will enroll in our Introduction to Education dual-enrollment course in collaboration with Alvernia University. Other students will take a course to learn about becoming a coach or sports official, and others will join our Best Buddies Club to spend time with and support their friends with disabilities.

Getting a stadium dedicated in your name occurs for more than winning games, it speaks to the tremendous difference Coach Wolfrum has made for thousands of students and our community. He has shared a blueprint for success and a path that inspires all who spend time with him.

Let’s take some time to encourage that person in your classroom, neighborhood or church group that may have the skill to impact students. We have classrooms and stadiums full of amazing students who need outstanding educators.

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