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Therese Cooper

School: Jackson

Sports Played: Volleyball, Basketball, Track and Field, Softball

High School Honors: 3 Volleyball letters, 1st Team All-PIL as a Senior.

4 Basketball letters, 1st Team All-PIL and Team MVP as a Senior.

2 Track & Field letters, 2nd in PIL javelin as a Sophomore.

2 Softball letters, 1st Team All-PIL as a Senior.

Post High School Career: 4 letters and 4-year starter in Volleyball at the University of Oregon, walk-on as a Freshman and on scholarship her final 3 years. Bachelor's degree in Humanities at Oregon, Master's in Education from Portland State. 35-year career teaching high school English. 19 years as a head Volleyball coach at Wilson, Glencoe, Jefferson, and Roosevelt culminating at Grant in 2000 with PIL Coach of the Year honors. She also coached JV Softball for 9 years. She retired from teaching English in 2017.


I just attended my 40th high-school reunion in August, 2018, which made me think about my time playing sports at Jackson High School. Seeing many a former athlete made me realize that sports allows for another family, one that is formed from intense situations and times of reflection and celebration. Despite the fact that I haven't seen many of my former teammates and co-athletes in years, I still felt a bond with them much like attending a family get-together, funerals and weddings alike, where you haven't seen your aunt or cousin or nephew in several years but can pick up where you left off.

Sports for me have always been more than about jumping and diving and out-stepping your opponent. More importantly it is about developing relationships and trust with teammates and coaches, and working on yourself as a person. Sports can build character if an athlete has appropriate character-driven role models. I had many of these on the coaching staff, including Jim MacDicken, John Stilwell, Jerry Lyons, Mike Clopton, and Toni Hunter. I don't remember the games we lost or won as much as the relationships I had with my teammates and coaches. High-school sports develop a strong sense of belonging and community, an essential part of guiding a young mind and building the life-skills a teenager needs before entering the real world. I'm fortunate to have had such strong support during my four years at Jackson.

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