It comes as no surprise to those who know Ron Redding that we are here today to dedicate our school softball field to our long time Olympic teacher and coach, Ron Redding. Ron was a student of this district, graduating from Mt. Diablo High School. After teaching at other district schools, Ron found himself at Olympic in 1990 overseeing the school newspaper, The Torch, while also teaching English, Government, P.E. and Guitar. Ron has also taught Guitar at adult school teaching 5,000 students over the years.
During his fifth year at Olympic, Ron saw the need for athletic activities at the school and developed a coed softball team, starting with 1 bat, glove and a couple of softballs. For years the team practiced and played on a rocky corner of the campus originally used as a kickball field when the campus was an elementary school. Through donations and Ron's determination, the team added a backstop, benches, and received a van from Chevron to help the team as it played against rivals in Division 4 of the Continuation Education Athletic League and the Concord All-Stars.
As Ron and his team persevered despite scarce resources, Ron also advocated for his team by making his dream of an authentic softball field an eventual reality. Former Assistant Superintendent Dr. Alan Young occasionally saw Ron and his team practicing on the kickball field and promised that, "We're going to build you a softball field."
In 2007 thanks to Ron's tenacity and Measure C funds, Olympic celebrated the opening of the regulation softball field that Dr. Young had promised. One year later, Ron turned over his coaching responsibilities to colleague Jesse Forsland who has promised to continue to carry the 'Olympic Flame' torch. As Representative George Miller, a regular guest in Ron's Government classes has said, "Ron has never lost his touch in caring about young people, reaching out to them and giving them purpose. He really makes the classroom come alive and successfully connects the dots between the challenges his students face in the classroom, at home, on the street, and with the government structures in place to serve them." It may be added that the life lessons Ron taught his many team members over the years, such as perseverance, team work, overcoming obstacles, and reaching one's goals , have served his many students, and the community well.
Former students also recall Ron's commitment and passion. in a Contra Costa Times article written about the opening of the softball field, one former student, who had been unable to play baseball at his former school due to low grades, said, "What I learned here, and especially from Mr. Redding, is that just because something doesn't work out, that doesn't mean you quit on life. Something good can come out of everything." Another student was quoted as saying, "If you're serious about showing him you want to turn it around then he's in your corner for however long you need him." The teachers that Ron has mentored over the years feel the same way.
Because of Ron's dedication to the education of our community's children, both in the classroom and on the field, we, the staff, faculty and students of Olympic High School are proud to be here today to dedicate the softball field to Coach Ron Redding, the man whose passion and dedication to the students of Olympic High School has made our field a reality.
Check out the article that appeared in the Contra Costa Times.
Lots more photos coming soon.
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