Remembering a teacher and a coach

Around 1920, Oscar Edwards, a graduate of Wiley High School in Terre Haute, Indiana, won first place in the long jump at the IHSAA State Finals with a leap of 20 feet, 20-1/2 inches. Edwards not only made his mark around the track, but also in education.

A graduate of Indiana State Normal, Edwards earned a degree in physical education in 1929. He then started his master’s degree at Indiana State Teachers College, but left in 1931 when a job opened up at Booker T. Washington High School in Miami. A physical education teacher, Edwards also coached football and basketball. Eventually, he earned graduate degrees from Indiana State Teachers College and Indiana University.

According to Vigo County Historian Mike McCormick, “Throughout his teaching career, Edwards was outspoken in his efforts to improve the academic environment for black children. His reputation for activism may have affected his advancement but, in 1963, he was named assistant principal at Miami’s George Washington Carver High School.”

McCormick shares Edwards’ story in “Wabash Valley Profiles, a series of tributes to hometown heroes who have made a difference.” This series was presented by First Financial Bank. Edwards’ tribute appeared in 2006.

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