Ray Bowler started teaching at Fredonia High School back in 1993, and has been an influence in students’ lives ever since! Bowler was influenced by his own teachers to pursue his career in teaching and taught for 30 years at Fredonia High School. He must have liked it because he only taught in Fredonia and nowhere else!
One of his first students was Caroline Grover, who was in her sophomore year at the time. Now she teaches alongside him at the high school. She remembers him “teaching English and he did not know how to spell nothing!”. Bowler has taught many subjects including Math, English, Physics, PE, Weights, Welding and Shop. Amongst teaching, he also coached or helped coach almost every sport at one point or another – except drill and cheer.
Many of Bowler’s favorite memories come from coaching wrestling and the fun trips they had. All this over the years has allowed Bowler to impact and get to know many students. Some of his eighth graders this year are second generation students – meaning he taught their parents. Some of the things mentioned by students when asked their thoughts and memories, were the nicknames he had for each of them such as Paco or Bubba, his sense of humor and just having a good time.
Bowler’s advice to his students is to have fun and not be too serious, but work hard!
Caroline Grover spoke highly of him, “He is a very personable individual, who got along with all the teachers and students. I have enjoyed working with him and appreciated his willingness to work with me when I was a new teacher. As a former student, I appreciated his sense of humor. He will be missed in the school.”
Another student that has turned to a colleague is Wyatt Kimball, “I loved Mr. Bowler growing up here in Fredonia. He was always fun to talk with and just hang out in his room sometimes after school. He had some creative assignments that I still remember to this day. I also remember the hardcore rounds of Text Twist we used to play. Bowler always had and has a love for his students, and he always wanted what was best for them. He was also so great at supporting them, especially in sports. When I grew up in elementary school, Mr. Bowler was there helping with wrestling, which was fun! Bowler devoted so much time and attention to people of this community, which is why he was so loved and adored. There will be a hole at Fredonia High School, but he will always be remembered and loved! Thanks Bowler for all you have done for this community!”
There are many that have known Bowler a long time and have much to say about him, but there are also those that have not known him so long that only have good things to say about him. Gail Everhart has been working and collaborating with Bowler for the past year and praises that, “I have worked with over 30-40 teachers in my career of over 20 years and I have never had such a good collaboration with a teacher as I have with Bowler. We worked well with each other and if one lacked, the other picked up. We balanced and worked with each other so well! We have inside jokes that the kids make fun of us because we must be old or something to understand the jokes. Bowler has such a great relationship with kids and getting to know the kids goes so far in education. The kids really like him for that reason.”
Bowler’s advice to his colleagues is to not get too involved with politics. “If you don’t get involved in politics, you might last as long as I did. It is the only reason that I made it this long.” He also mentioned that it has been very fulfilling to watch his students grow up and become coaches and teachers that are involved in the school. Bowler is looking forward to his retirement and plans to help his son build a house this summer and then start working next summer in Alaska. In the past, he has driven tour buses in Alaska and he really enjoyed that and would like to do it again. Bowler has had a huge impact on the community in the last 30 years and will greatly be missed by faculty and students. That is why he will be known as “The Legend” from Fredonia High School.