PARIS — During his long tenure as Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School’s Latin teacher, the late James Kothe was a mentor to students and a fixture at the school’s ball games. While he coached the girls’ softball team, he also never missed a single home baseball game.

James Kothe taught Latin at Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School between 1972 and 2001. A former student has made an anonymous $7,500 in Kothe’s name to OHCHS baseball program. Courtesy OHCHS Library

“I graduated from Oxford Hills in 1986 and he was my Latin teacher,” said OHCHS math teacher and freshman baseball coach Pete Doucette. “He was amazing. He came to every home game. I remember him at every basketball game, too. I’m sure he attended the other sports too.

“(Jim) really recognized the importance of having a connection to his students outside the classroom. I’m willing to bet it extended to band, concerts and other events.”

One OHCHS alumnus has never forgotten Kothe’s commitment, anonymously donating $7,500 in memory of Kothe to Maine School Administrative District’s baseball athletics program.

Doucette attended Oxford Hills the same years as the donor, who visited in town last spring. He attended a game where Doucette was coaching and the two began reminiscing about their school days.

“In between games he came to me and told me he had been thinking about a donation, and could we make it happen.” Doucette said. “He doesn’t want the recognition. He wants the recognition to go to Jim.”


Doucette said he uses what Kothe taught him in his approach in the classroom, recalling his mentor’s tradition of teaching the kids to sing a particular song in Latin.

Doucette said Kothe was an educator who expected the most from his students, but also made it a point to support them. He recalled his mentor’s tradition of teaching kids to sing a particular song in Latin, adding that he uses a similar approach in his own classroom.

“‘He told us, ‘you may not remember what we learned here in Latin, but if nothing else, you’ll never forget learning this song,’ and he was right,” Doucette said, singing a few bars from memory. “He would joke around if you made a mistake, but he wanted you to do your best, to achieve to the best of your ability.

“You don’t remember the stuff you learned from a teacher, but you always remember the teacher. You remember Jim the person and you know that he cared about you.”

Doucette described how Kothe’s influence continues. “My kids may not remember that I taught them to solve an algebraic equation, but they’ll remember that I did a TikTok out in the hall with them.

“That’s how you make connections. You make that connection and they will do anything for you, whether they like Latin, or math. A lot of kids come in here and they’re not interested in doing math. But if you make a connection with them, like Jim knew how to, they will do the work.”


Former OHCHS Latin teacher Jim Kothe, posing with a student who nailed him with a pie during Winter Carnival during the 1990s. Courtesy OHCHS Library

“He was a fine, dry-witted person,” OHCHS Principal Ted Moccia added. “He was a longtime teacher here and left to teach at Gorham. Then he came back here. I was in a bind and I called him after he retired and he was willing to come back.

“The kids loved him. I think with Jim, it was about knowing that you can get so much more out of a person if they know you’re invested in them as a person. That was what he was all about.

“I remember after Jim passed away. The outpouring of people that stood to talk at his funeral, about how he had impacted them. We all hope to leave a legacy, and Jim’s was his relationships. The church broke out in song, singing the Latin song he taught all his students in class. It was something.”

For the school’s baseball teams, the anonymous donor requested that funds be used for team equipment and improvements, but also to make sure kids that can’t afford the best of everything get the same gear as those who can.

“He sees the needs of our kids,” Moccia said of the teams’ donor. “And he was one of those kids who didn’t have a lot either. He knows the struggles some of our kids go through. Now that he is able to make the impact, from the impact that Jim Kothe had on him, he wants to give back.”

“He doesn’t want any kid to feel like he can’t have the fancy baseball pants or jersey,” Doucette said. “He doesn’t want them to feel like they can’t play because they don’t have what everyone else does. He wants the kids to have access.”

“The theme of this donation,” Moccia said. “Is to help break down barriers so that all (the kids on the team) feel accepted and that they belong. And it’s in the memory of Jim Kothe.”



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