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Putting ‘U’ in Community Education: Coach DePalma’s Story

Community Education provides lifelong learning for all. That’s why we’re sharing stories of the different ways people interact with Community Ed. We want YOU to see how Community Education is having an impact on your friends, family, neighbors and colleagues.

Coach DePalma in gym(1/18/23) At 85, one would think Coach John DePalma might be relaxing on the beach with his wife of 56 years or settling back into retirement, but believe it or not, this experienced coach is not ready to spend his golden years on the sidelines.

DePalma has been coaching in one way or another since he was a teenager. He runs his own quarterback clinic and coaches flag football, baseball and basketball for Anoka-Hennepin Community Education at Roosevelt Middle School in Blaine.

A former marine captain and retired banker, Coach DePalma has a gift he keeps on giving.

“I am an expert at motivation, inspiration, focus, leadership, imagination and perfection,” DePalma said. “And I’ll give it to them if they want it.”

Community Schools staff says the program is lucky to have him. The students think so too, as they seem to be paying attention to his advice.

“They’ve come to realize that I’m telling the truth and they might receive a benefit,” DePalma said.

In our latest Putting ‘U’ in Community Education video, you’ll meet Coach DePalma. While it’s been decades since John played middle school sports himself, it's evident that Coach DePalma relates to these young athletes in a positive way.