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Catching Up With ...
Written by Bradley Schlegel, Staff Writer
2020-07-08

Linda Roth Grim

            Linda Roth Grim excelled at field hockey for Upper Perkiomen. As a senior,

Linda Roth Grim

she was named the team captain, and earned MVP honors.

            "We weren't a real winning team," Grim said. "But we had a lot of fun and I made good friends."

            A 1968 graduate, Grim also played softball and was a cheerleader for the Tribe. She described the Tribe's Bux-Mont League championship-clinching victory over Souderton on Thanksgiving Day in 1966 as the highlight of her cheerleading career.

            Grim fondly recalled Kathleen Utz, who coached hockey and softball.

Playing high school sports helped Grim develop a work ethic. 

            "Even if you don't win you keep working hard to do the best you can," said Grim, who grew up in Red Hill playing whiffle ball and football against a neighborhood of boys. "That's a lesson I have passed on to my grandson."

            At Kutztown University, Grim chose to focus on academics rather than play hockey. She graduated with a bachelor's degree and a teaching certificate in 3-1/2 years. She took a job at a local elementary school, filling in for a sixth-grade teacher on maternity leave. The opportunity turned into a full-time position at Kutztown Elementary.

      "I still don't know why they hired me," said Grim, who retired  in 2007 after teaching in the Kutztown Area School district for 31 years. "I had no connections to the school or the district."

            At Kutztown, she briefly served as the high school cheerleading advisor. However, Grim said she's remained a cheerleader of sorts. For several years, she attended games to support her husband John, who sandwiched two stints as head of the Muhlenberg boys basketball team around one stretch in the same position at Kutztown High School. John also spent several years as the head baseball coach at Kutztown High School.

            Currently, Linda is attending games in support of her son, who is a youth coach.

            "I'm still going to games," Grim said. "Still sitting in the bleachers."

 

Mike Duka

            Mike Duka earned a spot on the Lock Haven University football team. Without

 

a scholarship, the wide receiver played two years. He took advantage of injuries to the players ahead of him on the depth chart.

            "I filled in admirably," said Duka, who grew up in Pennsburg.

            A 1976 graduate of Upper Perkiomen, Duka started half the games his first season with the Bald Eagles. He played a significant number of snaps the following season.

            After graduating with a degree in management science, Duka took a job at Knoll where he worked for 13 years. Since 2004, he has worked as the maintenance coordinator and central buyer at Avery Dennison, a packing company in Quakertown.

            In high school, Duka was a standout performer for the Indians. He played both ways as a junior and a senior for head coach Bill Keeny.

            "I had a motor back then," said Duka, who played wingback on offense and cornerback and safety on defense.

            He excelled in the passing game. Duka led the Tribe in receptions as a junior (40) and as a senior (16).

            "I ran good pass patterns and had good hands," said Duka, who identified a Thanksgiving Day victory over Souderton his senior season as a highlight.

            Duka and his teammates learned discipline and the concept of working together. He said Keeny and his coaching staff's demanding nature were necessary to make sure Upper Perkiomen could complete against bigger schools.

            "(Keeny) made sure we knew what the hell we were doing," Duka said. "You didn't dare step out of line."

            Duka excelled on the track for the Indians. During his senior season, his 4x800 meter relay team finished fourth at the PIAA Championships.

            "I'm amazed that we got that far," said Duka, who ran the first leg in the final race at States and handed off the baton in first place. "I was not used to running two laps."

            Duka also competed on the Tribe's tennis team, which was coached by his father, Mike Playing first doubles and relying on a hard serve, he helped the team capture a Bux-Mont League championship.

            "I didn't have enough finesse to pay singles," said Duka, who still lives in Pennsburg.


 

 

 

 

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