What inspires an inspirational teacher?

Cowles draws motivation, strength from those who overcome adversity to succeed and help others


Dave Winter

Many of the quotes that inspire PALS adviser Richard Cowles stress that a life well lived is devoted to helping others. Perhaps that’s why he encourages the PALS to participate in the annual Well Aware Shower Strike which raises awareness and funds for Well Aware, an organization that brings clean, accessible water to communities that don’t have it. The 2022 Shower Strike starts today and runs through next Wednesday. Last year, Cowles participated in a Water Walk to illustrate the difficulty of having to transport water over long distances. Cowles threw down the gauntlet in the faculty obstacle course competition for fastest water walker by posting a sub 20-second time despite carrying two five-gallon water canisters instead of the one that the students carried.

In the next episode of The S Word, senior co-editor in chief Madelynn Niles and senior design and visuals editor Anna McClellan continue their conversation with math teacher and PALS sponsor Richard Cowles. In this second installment, Cowles shares some of his favorite quotes, including those from Helen Keller and Gandhi, his motivations, and, the subject most dear to him, his family. Discussing his admiration for those who overcome challenges and service for others, he also jokes around that his daughter Sam may not enjoy being at the same school quite as much as her dad, but as Cowles puts it, “You’ll have to ask her opinion about that.” 

To contribute to the Shower Strike, the annual PALS fundraiser to raise awareness and funds for Well Aware, a group that works to make clear, accessible water available to people who don’t have it, click this link.