Last week, Pearl Bailey’s Prescott Junior High Character Education class was visited by two special guests: Ross Cowling, a 1997 graduate of Prescott High School, and his mother Rozan Cowling.
During Ross’s speech to the class, he discussed the importance of setting goals, working toward those goals, and fulfilling them. He shared that playing football and baseball at Prescott High gave him an opportunity to build physical and mental toughness. Ross also spoke about the influence on his life from Coach Eddie Jackson, a former Curley Wolves football coach.
He noted that Coach Jackson, with a disabled arm, led by example: he never made excuses or put limits on what he could or could not do. He talked about how the coach would hit a baseball farther with his short arm than with his so called “good arm.” Ross said his experiences with Coach Jackson taught him that “belief in your own abilities is the best foundation to build on.” Therefore, Ross said he didn’t use his attention deficit disorder as an excuse but instead as motivation.
After graduating from Prescott, Ross followed his dream of playing in Major League Baseball (MLB) and tried out and worked with the St. Louis Cardinals Organization to become a pitcher, but did not make the pro team. He regrouped and turned his attentions toward another career – working for parks and recreation, where he hoped to have a positive influence on the city’s student population. This ultimately led to him becoming the Superintendent of Texarkana’s Parks and Recreation.
He advised Ms. Bailey’s class to study hard, learn from mentors, and prepare for a job or career which they will enjoy. Additionally, he said their family can also be a major influence in their life. His parents, Rev and Mrs. Milton Cowling, and the rest of his family, always supported him and influenced him to set goals and have a backup plan should those goals fall short.
At the end of his presentation Ross gave out goodies for the students and gave Ms. Bailey a beautiful Curley Wolf picture. “Once a Curley Wolf, always a Curley Wolf,” Ross said before he left.