Private Project

Overcoming All Odds

Born into a family of ten children headed by itinerant parents, who could neither read nor write, Ron worked in the agricultural fields. He experienced a father who was mentally and physically abusive toward him, a mother who tried to protect him, but who became ill and died at an early age, and teachers and a minister who provided encouragement and direction to climb out of the fields. It is a story about a boy whom doctors give only six months to live, but he attended a church healing service and was cured. He listened carefully to compassionate and helping teachers, who suggested drama, speech, and speed reading as ways to get a scholarship for college, but he faced negative stereotyping every step of the way. His mother, much wiser than her limited education would have suggested, helped him through difficult and awkward times, especially during his junior year of high school, when he became one of the very few male students in cosmetology school. Much love and heartbreak took place between Ron, his twin Don, and their two younger sisters.

  • Project Type:
    Screenplay
  • Number of Pages:
    161
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Language:
    English
  • First-time Screenwriter:
    No
  • Student Project:
    No
  • United States Intercollegiate Competition
    United States
    January 1, 1971
    Persuasive Speech | Champion
Writer Biography

Ron Norton Reel was born in Wasco, California, into a family headed by itinerant farm labor parents, who could neither read nor write. One of ten children, Ron helped his family by working beside them in the agricultural fields. By the time he graduated from high school, he had lived in twelve different homes. His father, an alcoholic, abused his children and his wife, who died of cancer one month after Ron graduated from high school. A number of caring teachers, ministers, and friends gave Ron a love of learning and helped him overcome his poor economic circumstances.

Ron graduated from Fresno State with a BA in 1973 and an MA in 1974. During his college years, he participated in intercollegiate forensics, where he was extremely successful, winning a national championship in persuasive speaking in 1972. He earned a secondary teaching credential from Pacific College in 1974 and an administrative credential from Azusa Pacific in 1978. Ron was awarded his Ph.D. from Valley Christian University in 1976. He taught at junior high, senior high, community college, and the university level.

Ron’s dream job was at Mt. San Antonio College from 1984 to 2013. During this time, he was the Director of Forensics, Department Chair for Communications, and was the Mt. SAC Faculty Association President. He established a student scholarship fundraiser entitled Puttin’ on the Hits which has raised more than two hundred thousand dollars for student aid. Ron coached the Mt. SAC forensics team, which became and still is, one of the perennial powerhouse programs in the United States.
Ron is the lead author of a public speaking textbook entitled From Fright to Might now in its eighth edition. All the royalties from the book go to the Mt. SAC speech team to pay for the costs of student travel to competitions. While teaching full-time, he became a real estate broker and was the owner of Reel Properties and Reel Mortgage.

Ron moved full-time to Brookings, Oregon, in 2013. He had been living in Brookings since 2006 but traveling back and forth to Sacramento where for six years he was the Community College Association President representing the professors in over sixty community colleges. The local community college, Southwestern Oregon Community College, did not have a speech professor, so he taught for them. While teaching in Brookings, the College of the Redwoods campus in Crescent City, California, recruited him to teach speech at their campus. He has helped students in Curry County and in Del Norte County achieve their goal of earning an Associate’s degree at both institutions. He established Pacific Ocean Properties in Brookings, Oregon, in 2014. He opened an additional office, Reel Properties in Crescent City in 2018. He also has a property management company. Ron is an ordained minister and is currently a member of St. Timothy’s Episcopal Church in Brookings where, he says, he lip-syncs in the choir. He also hosts a radio segment for Curry Radio entitled “Brookings Harbor Voices” twice per month. Ron began his second term as President of the Curry County Board of Realtors in January 2020.

Ron is available to speak at churches, conferences, colleges, and schools to inspire others to meet their own problems head-on and to have greater empathy for those who are working hard to surmount their own difficulties.

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Writer Statement

"The important message is that with hard work and the support of others, any obstacle to success can be overcome"