‘Part of My Purpose’: Louis Gould wants to start a domino effect

Published 12:25 pm Friday, April 26, 2024

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The idea is to start a domino effect of sorts. That’s how Louis Gould III views life. 

“The thing about living is to be able to, by the time you leave Earth, have an impact on people,” Gould said. “If you had an impact on 10 people, then you’ve had a solid impact. Then they can be able to man up at your funeral, give a message of support to your family and go out and try to impact 10 people themselves.” 

No one can accuse Gould of not having an impact. When you consider the number of jobs he does, often for free, the groups he works with and his overall outreach, there’s an argument he might be one of the busiest people in Farmville. He doesn’t do it for applause. And he doesn’t do it for awards, even though Gould does get recognized. He earned The Farmville Herald’s Readers Choice “BEST OF THE BEST Award” in 2021, The Farmville Herald’s “Best K-12 Teacher” and the Farmville Rotary Club’s Middle School Teacher of the Year Award in 2023. Earlier this year, the local chapter of the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority named him their 2024 Citizen of the Year. But that’s not why he does it. He does it simply because he can. 

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“If I’m gonna be here in Prince Edward, if I’m gonna be here in my hometown of Farmville, then while I’m here, I’m gonna do my best to give back,” Gould said. “Not just to leave my community better, but to leave the people better.” 

Part of My Purpose

Louis Gould III is a history teacher at Prince Edward Middle School, but that’s just one of several hats he wears at the facility. He’s also the school’s boys basketball coach and runs their track and field program too. 

“Coaching isn’t a job to me,” Gould said. “I mean, it is a job, but it’s like part of my purpose. I’m around my kids, I’m pushing my kids to do better in school. It’s like I’m supposed to be here. My purpose is to be here at Prince Edward Middle School. If it means coaching them, then I’m going to coach. Whatever it takes to help them be motivated to get good grades and be positive, that’s what I’m gonna do until God calls me to go somewhere else.” 

And this year has been a successful one in that calling, both on and off the court. Gould’s rules caused his basketball players to improve in the classroom, while they also worked to earn a second straight conference championship on the court. As Gould said, kids worked to be a part of his team. 

“All of them, they knew they couldn’t play with bad grades, that’s not how we do,” Gould said. “We had kids scrambling, working to get those grades up. They definitely showed they wanted to be part of the program, by the effort they put in.” 

Louis Gould III

Louis Gould and His Love of History 

Specifically, Louis Gould III is a seventh grade U.S. history teacher at Prince Edward Middle. But he has a passion for all history, one sparked by two of his college professors. 

“For that, we’ve got to go back to Southside Community College,” Gould said. “My professor, he made history so much fun. Then when I got to Longwood, I had Dr. Cantrell. Dr. Cantrell is the most awesome teacher in the world. I tried to take every one of his classes. He would put a word on the board and he could tell you a story about everything he put up there. It was there I learned history is not boring.” 

Instead, he learned how the past connects with the present, how decisions made decades or even centuries ago help influence things now. And that’s what he wants to pass on to his students. 

“That’s what the kids are seeing,” Gould said. “Especially with what I’m teaching now, U.S. History. The kids are seeing how we got Social Security. They’re seeing how we got roads like the interstates. They see that this happened back then, which caused something else to happen. They’re understanding how history connects everything.” 

But teaching and coaching isn’t all that Gould’s involved in. He is the president and founder of the Fresh Boyz Club, a nonprofit youth mentorship program that connects young boys and men. The idea is to, in Gould’s words, give young men a chance to “develop leadership skills, participate in service to others, achieve academic excellence, and practice personal integrity.” 

“At first, it was just an entertainment based thing, you know, trying to make kids excited about stuff,” Gould said. “But as the years transpired, I started looking to make it bigger and take it to the point that not only are we gonna help each other, but we’re gonna show our community not only can we can be successful, but we’re gonna push our community to do the same, to boost as many people as possible.” 

That was 15 years ago and now the club volunteers at the FACES Food Bank, the PEFYA Basketball program, participates in community activism, sponsors Thanksgiving events, Mothers’ Day activities and the Back2School Supply Giveaway Program. 

“All of the members, even some who started when they were 10, they’re still involved,” Gould said. “Being genuine in what you can do can reap a lot. You don’t have to fake anything. All of our actions are pure from the heart and people can see that.” 

Going to Keep Going 

Louis Gould III said that seeing people come back and contribute, to Fresh Boyz Club, to any of his other work, it makes him feel like he has started his own domino effect. 

“It does feel good and it makes me feel that the time I’ve spent helping people has had an impact,” Gould said. “That I’ve had a small impact on their lives. It’s motivation to keep going.” 

Motivation to keep teaching, to keep helping, however he can. That’s something Gould said he’ll never stop doing. 

“If I see something good I can do, then I’m gonna do it,” he said.