Students learn from the late Ed Thomas - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Students learn from the late Ed Thomas

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Eastern Iowa students received a lesson in leadership Thursday, all through a superb example. It's all in honor of Ed Thomas, the late football coach and model citizen in his community.

Thomas was killed seven years ago, when he was shot by a former player in the Aplington Parkersburg (AP) High School weight room. Those who knew and played for Coach Thomas say he was a true leader, mentor and role model.

Coach Ed Thomas' motto was, "Do what's right," something one speaker says is difficult, but it is something Ed Thomas always did.        

Ed Thomas left a lasting impression on many after he was killed. "There is no better man to be the poster of leadership," said Trevor Haren, AP High School Senior.

Leadership is something Thomas taught and lived by. His lessons live on through the Ed Thomas Legacy Leadership Academy.

The Leadership Academy is in its third year and Coach Thomas' family says they are honored to continue to carry on his legacy.

After her husband's tragic death, Jan Thomas chooses to be positive, "Taking it and moving forward and doing something positive is a great way to continue his legacy, instead of choosing to be negative and angry, it would accomplish nothing."

Speakers taught students to do what's right, the words Thomas lived by.

"Attitude is everything, you can't control what happens to you but you can always, always control how you respond," said Gabby Hanken, AP High School Senior.

A mural in AP High School is littered with quotes from Ed Thomas. One quote reads - "If all I have taught you is how to block and tackle then I have failed you as a coach."

These words inspired one student, "You know that just shows how good of a guy he was, it wasn't all about football, it wasn't all about coaching, it was about teaching his players, teaching his students how to be a person with respect, how to be a person with responsibility and integrity," said Trevor Haren.

Ed Thomas touched many people at AP High School, teaching them about integrity and respect. A lesson he is still teaching nearly seven years after his death.

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