Black History Month Spotlight: Victor Perry, The Founder Of The Wrestling Club

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As Black History Month comes to a close, WBLS has been spotlighting the heroes of today and now the spotlight is on Victor Perry.

Perry a sixth-grade English teacher as well as the Dean of Sixth-grade students, created the first and only “Wrestling Club” at the school he teaches at, Kipp AMP Middle School. In speaking with Mr. Perry, he revealed that the creation of the club was never planned.

“It was never planned, it just happened organically because of the pandemic,” he said. “ I fell back in love with wrestling in 2020 and whenever we were on Zoom, in between the buffer time of transitioning the students, I would just mention something about wrestling to the students, and some of them were interested.”

He continued, “It wasn’t until 2021 when we came back into the school building that I saw that WWE superstar, Bianca Belair was coming to Brooklyn and I decided that I was going to meet her and go to Monday Night Raw and that’s what I did.”

Mr. Perry recalls a student overhearing him talk about his plans and stated that he wanted to go. That’s when he found out that the student loved wrestling as well and he called the student’s mother and they all went to meet the superstar and to see the show.

The English teacher said that the student went back to school the next day bragging about going to his first wrestling show to the others and that’s when he found out that many students had the same love for the sports entertainment show.

However, Mr.Perry knew that he was doing something special once a video he posted of the students watching a Roman Reigns match on X (formerly known as Twitter). “I remember it like it was yesterday, the kids were burnt out from taking exams and the principal said that we can let them relax by watching a movie, however, I put on a wrestling match with Roman Reigns and recorded them watching it.” He continued, “I posted it on Twitter, and the next thing I knew the notifications on my phone kept going off with other people’s reactions, surprised at the fact that we were watching wrestling in school.”

Although it is fun for everyone to come together and watch wrestling, the thing that makes this club special is that Mr. Perry also implements his love for English and History into every video they watch or class project they do. Mr. Perry has revealed that his students’ writing has improved due to them writing down promos (scripts) or they are more comfortable with being around each other and being more vocal. “They have become new people since being in this classroom,” the teacher said.

When we visited the classroom, the students watched WWE’s Money In The Bank from 2021 when Big E became the first African American to win the MITB briefcase. (A contract for the opportunity to face the WWE champion for the championship).

His students also appreciate that he brought something like this to the school because it allows them to have safe space amongst each other.

“When I walk into Mr. Perry’s classroom, I feel like I’m walking into a safe, warming, and caring space and it makes me feel good,” Gavin, 11 said. “He makes kids want to come to school even if they hate doing so.”

Another student of his, Keera, 11, who wasn’t into wrestling before The Wrestling Club shared the same sentiments about their beloved teacher. “I remember the first day I came to The Wrestling Club, and watched a match featuring WWE NXT Carmelo Hayes. Ever since then, Carmelo has been my favorite wrestler.”

Keera went on to speak about how Mr. Perry teaches them what happens when their favorite wrestler goes from a good person (a babyface) to a bad person (a heel) as part of a storyline. “When our favorite wrestlers go from good to bad for a storyline, Mr. Perry compares it to the things that we do in class. He helps us identify the character traits of a particular wrestler as if we were reading about a specific character from a book.”

For his students, The Wrestling Club is more than a group of students coming together to watch wrestling but it is also a community. The Florida Native efforts have not gone unnoticed. Professional wrestlers such as Mercedes Moné (formerly known as Sasha Banks), Big E., Shelton Benjamin, and more have all made surprise visits to the club and just recently WWE superstar Cody Rhodes announced that he has brought the club tickets to attend WWE’s Wrestlemania 40 this upcoming April in Philadelphia.

This will be some of the students’ first time going to a live wrestling show and it wouldn’t have happened if it wasn’t for Victor Perry. When asked where he sees The Wrestling Club going in the next few years, he replied, “I would love to have it in other schools, as well as have conventions where all of the wrestling clubs meet up once a year to have panel discussions as well as have talent (wrestlers, writers, producers, etc) come in and speak with the students.

Mr. Perry also hopes Carmelo Hayes can stop by the club to sit and speak with the kids one day.