I found out through Facebook last night that Ray Koons had died. Who, you ask? Only one of the most respected and popular teachers to ever grace the halls of Lehighton Area High School. His popularity made him an invited guest at many class reunions, including the 20 year reunion of the LAHS Class of '84.
I don't know specifically how long Mr. Koons taught, but I think it's fair to say that anyone who went to LAHS in the 70s, 80s or 90s knew Mr. Koons. Some students knew him through the classes he taught; others may have had him as a coach; still others may have just met him in the hallway, probably as he was telling them to stop screwing around and get to class. Whatever the circumstances, when Mr. Koons talked, you listened.
For my part, I can only remember having one class with Mr. Koons - Federal Government during my junior year. One of my favorite memories of the class was listening to everyone (me included) sing the Schoolhouse Rock song as we wrote down the words to the Preamble to the Constitution.
The other memory that stands out is of the recurring "Point to Ponder" assignments. Every week or so, Mr. Koons would require us to write a few paragraphs concerning a thought-provoking phrase. I don't remember anything specific, but they would have been along the lines of this quote from Plato: "Those who are too smart to engage in politics are punished by being governed by those who are dumber." Your job was then to write four or five paragraphs about what the statement or thought meant to you. In other words, it was an exercise in critical thinking (and in writing).
I'm sure there were students who didn't like that kind of assignment. And, maybe there were even a few who didn't like Mr. Koons. But, I did, and I hope those other people learned to appreciate Mr. Koons as a teacher and as a man.
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