The Pioneer Press December 2, 2019

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sports 8 read about the challenges and trials of a big 10 commit

dearborn high school volume 102 edition 3 December 2, 2019 photo: Thomas Guajardo


December 2, 2019




Mike Schmitt


Editor-in-Chief Nadien Mellah Editor-in-Chief Malak Almonajed News Editor Yakeen Bazzi Feature Editor Reem Kassir Opinion Editor Fatin Saad Sports Editor Mohamad Ghader Photo Editor Lilian Nashar Ad Editor Israa Saad Media Editor Heba Elzaghir Design Editor Sophia Palise REPORTERS Virginia Afton Jibril Ahmed Mohammed Alamri Mariam Alkhalil Fatema Almoamen Jad Aoun Laila Atwa Raneen Awada Ali Berro Jeanine ElGhandour Dominic Greimel Carmen Hachem Ahmed Harajli Ali Ismail Nour Kassir Luke Kearns Neena Khalaf Hadi Moughni Hassan Mourtada Abdulhakim Said Hassan Sobh Fatima Taleb Shane Veith Marcus Walker

Email us at: thepioneerdhs@


Photo: Heba Elzaghir On Monday Nov. 25,2019, DHS Special Education Staff came together to make an image out off can. In the end they ended up making caterpillar out off cans. Each staff department made diffrent images.

Dearborn’s three high school collect and raise nonparishables to fight hunger.

Mohamad Ghader & Reem Kassir Sports Editor & Feature Editor The fifth annual “Battle Against Hunger was held from Nov. 18 to 24 this year. Battle Against Hunger is a week long fundraising event in which multiple Dearborn schools in the district compete to see who can raise the most money and canned foods for low-income families that are struggling. It first started off between Dearborn High School and Fordson and eventually Edsel Ford and other elementary and middle schools in Dearborn became involved. Last year, over 200,000 food items, amounting to almost 12 tons, were donated to provide for thousands of families in Dearborn. This year’s campaign raised over 59,000 food donations district wide. Two non-profit organizations, Zaman International and the Amity Foundation, have agreed to assist in this approach. DHS Senior Lily Fakih said that having the fundraiser between different schools as a contest would be more effective than just DHS doing it. “We didn’t want to just have Dearborn High involved because we wanted a more lasting impact on the community,” Fakih said. “We realized that one way we can really get the

community involved is through competition.” FHS Junior Zeinab Alghanem said that the fundraiser helps supply food for students who depend on the free lunch given to them at school. “Much of our students rely on the food the school provides and when they leave for break they don’t have any food,” Alghanem said. “We decided to step in and as a community, push the effort to make sure those families and students get food over the break.” FHS teacher Angela Altomonte, an organizer of Battle Against Hunger, said that the fundraiser does so well because students get a first hand experience in how to run a campaign. “I think it is successful because not only are we helping people in the community, we can see how much we’re helping them, but also the students are going out and seeing the work that they have done during the week and what it looks like,” Altomonte said. Altomonte said the idea that DHS and FHS are rivals is not good and that the two schools should be supportive of each other. “The way people now view Fordson and Dearborn is horrible. We have made ourselves look like we are at war with each other when we


Events This Month

Vocal Holiday Concert Dec. 11, 2019

Late Start Dec. 18, 2019 Winter Break Dec. 23-Jan. 3

Students Of The Month Jude Kobaia Senior Ali Amin Junior Sara Moughni Sophomore Sammy Moussa Freshman Twitter: @thepioneerpres2 Instagram: @thepioneerpress Web: dhspioneerpress. net



December 2, 2019

Stress Over Studies Reem Kassir & Fatima Taleb Feature Editor & Staff Writer

In the past decade, studies have shown that mental health issues in teens have risen with many factors playing a role in this escalation. According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, major depression found in youth has increased by 52 percent from 2005 to 2017. We can link mental health back to almost every matter that is currently being disputed in the media. Gun reform, the vaccination crisis, and even abortion laws deal with mental stability.

Homework The letter grading system has been around since 1897 and according to some, it has become more and more outdated as each school year passes. Starting from elementary school, students are taught that smart students get A’s and failing students are prone to receive F’s. DHS Language Arts Teacher Sara Sabbagh said that grades should not exist. “There should be no grading scale,” Sabbagh said. “It should be a portfolio that shows their progress on the work that they do throughout their educational career.” This places an intense amount of pressure on students at such a young age. With this mindset, students who struggle in school seem to be looked down at because their grades aren’t as good as their table mate who has straight A’s. Students are expected to excel in every subject they are taught in order to get a perfect GPA. A student can be excelling in most of their class and receiving A’s, but at the same time that same student can be struggling with math and science and receiving failing grades, lowering his or her GPA. Many schools, including DHS, reward students with a high GPA with events like honors ceremonies. Although these events recognize academically successful students and can encourage a large population to achieve at high levels in school, the same event can also discourage students who didn’t meet the criteria to be involved.

Grading System

Schoolwork can influence students’ wellbeing, public activity, and grades. The hours spent in class, and the hours spent on homework can cause understudies feeling overpowered and unmotivated. Exploring the line between creating learning skills and feeling confused can be too much. DHS Language Arts teacher Emily Pannecouk said that homework is not impactful since most students are constantly worrying about how they are going to get it done. “Students spend so much time stressing about how they are going to get their homework done or the impossible amount of homework they have,” Pannecouk said. “That’s not a real learning experience, I think it’s just stressful.” Schoolwork is a significant key to being beneficial inside and outside of the classroom, yet a lot of it can really have the contrary impact. Students who invest an excessive amount of energy in schoolwork are not constantly ready to take on different issues, such as being physically and socially dynamic. DHS junior Hawra Alhajm said that she regrets taking difficult classes because she can’t go out with her friends as much. “I haven’t had time to hang out with any of my friends this year,” Alhajm said. “It makes me sad and wish that I didn’t take so many hard classes.” At last, the workload a student has can result in some pretty detrimental outcomes beyond grades. As shown by an examination by Stanford College, 56 percent of understudies looked at schoolwork as an essential wellspring of stress. According to the study, a lot of schoolwork can bring about absence of rest, cerebral pains, weariness and weight reduction. Over the top schoolwork can likewise bring about poor eating patterns, with families picking cheap food as a quicker option.

16.5% of youth age 7-17 expierenced a mental health disorder in 2016

50% of mental health issues are established by the age of 14

Among children living below 100% of the federal poverty level, more than 1

in 5 (22%) had a mental,

behavioral, or developmental disorder

Sources: &


1 in young people suffer from a mental illness



December 2, 2019

“As a society we have to decide that humans cannot be evaluated by a number.” -Dr. Amira Kassem

Standarized Testing Standardized tests like the SAT and the ACT have been around for more than 50 years and have had a major impact on students’ futures based on the score they receive. Major universities will not applications that fail to meet the minimum score for admittance. As a result, this type of situation can ultimately force students to add unnecessary pressure on themselves to obtain a score that gains him or her acceptance into a university of their choice. The reality is these tests have come under scrutiny in the past, and some argue a student’s results are not a fair representation of intelligence. There have been cases when both tests have appeared to be unfair to students who may be intelligent but lack the skills they need to take standardized tests. Nowadays, students are bombarded with these tests. According to the Council of Great City Schools, as of 2016, the average student in America takes 112 mandatory standardized tests before graduating high school, which leaves on average eight tests per year. Students who have test anxiety-an unpleasant physiological condition students have during test taking- have a disadvantage because of their anxiety. School administration

puts an immense amount of pressure on students to do well in these tests, leading students to stress months and sometimes years ahead of taking them. DHS Language Arts teacher Amira Kassem said that people shouldn’t be judged by their test scores. “As a society we have to decide that humans cannot be evaluated by a number,” Kassem said. “Standardized scores are one element of a totality, we fragment people so much no wonder they are having mental health issues. We have to see people as their whole.”

School Expenses

When students are younger, their average school expenses can be as low as a $7 field trip fee, or a couple dollars to order pizza for the class. However, as students become upperclassmen in high school, they face costly expenses that are almost unavoidable. Expenses like AP exams ($94), SAT prep books that can range from $20-40, college application fees that vary on the school, and many more inevitable fees. DHS counselor Janice Fawaz said students who are unable to pay for an AP exam receive extra help in order to pay. “There's always a way for us to work

something out like a payment plan through College Board,” Fawaz said. “We can find something for them in order to help.” Junior Ahmed Makled said he refrains from taking SAT prep classes due to how expensive they are. “The SAT has been stressing me a lot lately,” Makled said. “I’ve been trying to practice but I haven’t taken classes because they cost too much money so instead I take free prep tests online,” Makled said. These fees may not seem like a lot, but not all students are able to keep up with the prices. Although these expenses are not mandatory, students feel obligated to buy these things in order to keep up with the rest and ensure that they are getting the best resources to excel. Since most students are unemployed, they would need to ask their parents for money, which can cause a lot of tension. This can lead to stress and depression in students who are unable to pay these fees but at the same time feel like they need to. As the years go on, there has been a been a continuous rise in mental health issues seen in teenagers and school has proven to play a big role in that. Unless actions are taken to change this epidemic, the numbers of mental health issues found in teens will only continue to grow.



December 2, 2019

Need Help? Here’s some teen help facilites in Wayne County


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3 1

3 4


5 6



Detroit Wayne Mental Health Authority

707 W Milwaukee Ave, Detroit, MI 48202

Detroit Wayne Integrated Health Network 707 W Milwaukee Ave, Detroit, MI 48202

Teen Mental Health Services

22720 Michigan Ave, Dearborn, MI 48124

Arab American and Chaldean Council 13840 W Warren Ave, Dearborn, MI 48126

Professional Outreach Counseling Services 34841 Veterans Plaza, Wayne, MI 48184

14500 Sheldon Rd # 160B, Plymouth, MI 48170

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1333 Brewery Park Blvd #140, Detroit, MI 48207

Lincoln Behavioral Services



Websites to visit



Wellplace Michigan

Hegira Programs Inc

33101 Annapolis St, Wayne, MI 48184

Apex Downriver Behavioral Health 19366 Allen Rd c, Brownstown Charter Twp, MI 48183

Family Service Inc

275 W Columbia Ave, Belleville, MI 48111

Mental Health Hotlines Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA)


Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA)


Suicide Prevention Services Depression Hotline


School Resources Stacy Rumler Social Worker Main Office

Dr.Kristina Kalaj School Psychologist Main Office

School Counselors Main Office



December 2, 2019

Dearborn Citizens Reject BRICS Bond What are the Consequences? Ahmed Harajili Staff Writeer

On Nov. 5, 2019, after a long and heated campaign, the BRICS bond, which would have allocated $240 million for infrastructure for Dearborn Public Schools, failed by a margin of 470 votes. This vote split Dearborn, many saying it would be a wonderful idea that would promise a better future for Dearborn schools and help their crumbling infrastructure, whilst many also said that it would be a waste of money and would not fix any of the problems that the district is currently facing. It is important to understand how people from both sides feel, but also, most importantly, what administrators plan to do in order to move forward and address current problems the district is facing. Director of Communications for Dearborn Public Schools, David Mustonen, said he was disappointed by the results of the vote, and that many problems the district wanted to solve with the BRICS bond will be delayed. “The District was disappointed that the bond proposal was defeated by about 500 votes. The outcome was unfortunate because now all the work that needs to be done will be delayed for at least two years. So just one of many examples include Haigh Elementary. There were plans to add 4 classrooms and cafeteria space to address capacity issues. The funds for that project are not available so that work will be delayed,” Mustonen said. Overpopulation is a huge issue for many in the Dearborn Public Schools district, and combating overpopulation via creating more classrooms was one of the goals of BRICS. The proposed bond aimed to allocate $21 million for

increasing capacity in schools. An example of the overpopulation issue is in DHS and Fordson High School. The ideal capacity of DHS is 1800 students, but it currently has around 2100 students. It is even worse for Fordson. Their ideal capacity is 2300 students yet they currently have 2800 students enrolled. The average classroom size of these schools, according to a 2018 Arab American News report, is 30, which is well above the national and state average. However, it is important to note that BRICS would not have allocated any funds for capacity to the high schools in Dearborn. It only allocated capacity funds to 11 schools, 8 of them being elementary schools. But now that the BRICS bond had been rejected, no schools will be able to receive funding at all, and the overcrowding problem is expected to get worse, especially for eastern Dearborn, which has an ever growing and concentrated population. Despite the defeat, the district is still committed to finding some way to raise more money for some of the schools which are in need of repair. Mustonen said that the school district will try getting another initiative on the ballot for next year and this time they will work on trying to correct some lies that were spread about the BRICS, as well as being more interactive with the citizens of Dearborn. ‘’The Board of Education will provide the administration with direction on next steps. Most likely, but not yet decided, a new proposal will be placed on the November 2020 ballot. Before any new proposal can be placed on the ballot, conversations will need to take place with all stakehold-

ers to help in developing a new plan that includes ideas and suggestions from those who are just now coming to the table and are now interested in the Dearborn Public Schools.’’ Mustonen said. ‘’During the weeks before the election there were inaccurate statements made by those opposing the bond and it will take time to correct those statements and rebuild trust within the community.’’ However, even if the school district gets another initiative on the ballot, there are some chances that it would fail. According to the Dearborn Public Schools website, interest rates are climbing and they fear that if they delay then the costs to pay for a bond would increase. Along with that, the school website reports that according to Engineering News, construction costs are increasing 5% every year. Another concern for the DPS as they wish for a ballot to be voted upon in later years is the millage. The millage, which is a local property tax, is set to expire before the next referendum, meaning that instead of getting money from a predefined millage with no tax increases, if the board wants another bond, then they will have to do it with a tax increase. Given that the bond failed when taxes were not even going to increase, it is likely that since taxes are likely going to increase the next time, that this vote will fail again, at an even greater margin. Some other reasons for why one would have voted no for the BRICS bond was that they thought their taxes would increase. For example, Dearborn resident Hamoudi Al-Said, said he voted “No” on BRICS because he thought it would


December 2, 2019


increase his taxes. “ I support our schools, but $250 million is just far too much. Where is that money coming from? It’s coming from our pockets. I already pay too much in taxes, the school district need to find another way to get it.” Al-Said said. It is important to know that the bond would not have increased taxes on Dearborn residents. Instead, it would have allocated more money from the millage rate in order to pay for the bond, and it would not have increased the millage rate. However, Zahra Ahmad, another Dearborn resident who voted “No” on the BRICS bond, said she felt suspicious of the school board. “They say they’re not going to raise taxes, but I just don’t believe them. When it comes to government, you can’t really trust them. They’re always lying to you.” Ahmad said. Personally, I supported the BRICS vote. I do believe that our schools need improved infrastructure. I also believe that fake news and misinformation was a major reason why this vote failed. Thousands of citizens said they distrusted the government and they told each other their taxes would increase, despite the fact that they would have kept the millage rate the same. Many “No” voters were misinformed. They fell for lies spread amongst each other in a similar way that people were falling for lies in the 2016 election cycle. In this age of unregulated social media where people seek confirmation bias and get their news from others on social media that they agree with, lies are easy to spread, and they come with consequences. Because of fake news, our schools will have less funding to fix their crumbling infrastructure, and sadly, with less funds to fix the schools, that money will have to come from somewhere else. Mrs. Kubicek, a teacher at DHS who was involved in the BRICS campaign, said that since the BRICS bond failed, the school district will

have to look elsewhere to get their funds, which could lead to a reduction in teacher salaries. “The school has a general fund, it is given to us from the state. This fund pays for things like teacher salaries. Dearborn currently has an issue with their bathrooms, with the BRICS bond they were planning on fixing it. Other schools need to repair roofs, swimming pools, they need to fix that immediately. Now that the BRICS bond has failed, the district still needs to address those issues, and since now we won’t have the bond, they will have to take money directly from the general fund, which will affect teacher pay, school supplies, etcetera.” Kubicek said. I do understand what many people on the No campaign want. It would be nice if the district focused more on improving our academics and expanding opportunities to students. Just as the Yes campaign has many complaints about the poor infrastructure in our schools, DHS is

also falling behind academics wise, many of the text books we have in this school are old, torn and outdated. Many classes lack textbooks, some classes don’t have textbooks at all. I also feel bad that compared to other schools, DHS doesn’t offer as many opportunities, for example we lack many AP classes, which disadvantages those who wish to earn college credits in high school. For example, schools like Brighton High School, offer far more AP classes than Dearborn, including AP World History, AP European History, AP Calc BC, to name a few, and Novi High School offers several classes like AP Spanish, AP French, and AP Physics C. And along with that, teacher salaries are still far too low given the work that they do every day. But it is important to know that this is a bond, bonds cannot be used for salaries or text books, and because the voters have blocked so much money from going into to Dearborn Public Schools, then it could actually lead to the schools being shorter on money and having to divert money from their general fund towards

infrastructure, taking away from what would have gone to things like new supplies and teacher salaries, therefore, many people who voted No actually are accomplishing the opposite of what they wished for. I hope that the school district will submit a new bond and that they will do a better job of educating the general populous. The school board needs to combat fake news if they will submit a new bond for next year, or else it could harm Dearborn Public Schools, and the future generation of Dearborn students. I also believe that us students need to educate many adults who fall for fake news on a daily basis, telling them the truth, telling them to look for more credible sources, and if they, or even if you did not support the BRICS vote, then make sure it is for actual reasons and not because of fake news.



December 2, 2019

My Journey to D-1

Senior describes his path from Dearborn to East Lansing Thomas Guajardo Staff Writer I will never forget my first college football camp experience. When I was only in the eighth grade, I was overwhelmed by the size and speed of some of the kids that were there. I always loved football, and when I started playing in the seventh grade, there were a few older kids that really stood out and inspired me. I remember one kid in particular that was just incredible, and he was getting offers from colleges to play football. He was a role model to me, and I knew that if he could do it, I could do it as well. It was at that camp that I knew that if I wanted to compete at this level like that kid was, I would have to dedicate my life to that goal. According to NCAA, about 1 million students are currently playing high school football in the United States. Only a handful, 2.8% of high school athletes, will make it into Division 1 college football. I am fortunate enough to be one of those individuals who will be able to play at that level. For me, the recruiting process started earlier than most and is still ongoing. It was a lot of work in the beginning. The first step was just getting my name out there to college coaches and recruiting analysts. The first part of getting recognized was attending as many camps as possible where college coaches or sports journalists that covered high school football were present. Getting a coach to notice me was big, but having a reporter write a story about me and Photo: Thomas Guajardo publish it was even bigger because many college coaches read these articles. I attended nationwide camps such as The Nike Opening, US Army National Combine, and the Adidas Rivals Camp Series. While it is not a formal requirement, many college coaches have guidelines that they go by in terms of physical standards that they are looking for in each position. I was blessed

Photo: Thomas Guajardo

to be tall enough and almost the right weight in just my freshman year, which put me in a better position for initial consideration. There are so many talented athletes out there that aren’t even given the time of day because they are an inch too short or are slightly under or overweight. Next comes the athleticism and speed. Sure, anyone can go to a camp, but if you don’t have great speed and explosiveness, you are just going to get left behind. Every school and event has their own way of measuring speed, ability, and explosiveness. In order to get noticed, I had to put in a ton of extra work. Besides lifting weights in the gym with my dad, I had a personal trainer that focused on speed and explosiveness. During the off-season of my freshman year, I trained with him every weekend and through breaks from school as well as daily during the summer. I also spent time in the summer polishing my receiver skills with a college wide receiver coach. He really helped me perfect my craft on my route running. There were literally no days off, football became a full time commitment. Once my sophomore year came my recruiting experience kicked into high gear. I spent a lot of time marketing myself on social media, with scouting networks like D-Zone,

While on his unofficial visit on March 2, 2019 Guajardo stopped and posed to take a picture in Hosier gear. Indiana University was one off the three Big Ten schools to offer him a full athletic scholarship.

possible there, I moved on to the Pac 12 and so on. I would communicate constantly with them - sending video clips of me working out, competing in events, and any film I could get my hands on, basically. I kept them all up to date on which schools I was talking to and potentially visiting. My name had been mentioned .... it felt like a was shot through enough times my stomach. I almost collapsed and I started crying, online, and with reaching and me thinking about how all of the out to every coach possible, I finally paid off started receiving a decent following on Twitter. After that, invitations came 247Sports, and ESPN. I also would more frequently and coaches were more open scour the internet, looking at college football to responding to my DMs and emails, as long is team websites, searching for email addresses of coaches that I could send a note to that contained it was within the NCAA regulations, of course. I’m not gonna lie, there were plenty of times that my measurables and a link to my film. I emailed I didn’t hear back from anybody, but there were everyone: head coaches, special teams coaches, also times that I would get a reply and a visit recruiting coordinators, player personnel directors, graduate assistants and literally anyone invitation. Pretty soon it was just a whirlwind of else I could find with a valid email address. Some coaches and schools contacting me to come visit campus on the weekends. days I would email 100 coaches. Then I moved My dad and I took a spring break trip on on to the ACC, and after I emailed everyone a college visit tour, which included approximately


hard work




10 schools. Besides that, we were trying to prioritize and juggle which schools to visit on the weekends or when we had free time. I was able to visit schools in various states all across the country, such as New York, Massachusetts, Virginia, Indiana, Florida, Illinois, and many others. Luckily my dad was just as committed to me succeeding as I was. He took a lot of time off of work for us to get around the country, all in a tight schedule. I am very grateful for him helping me out so much. Without my Dad, it probably would have taken a lot longer to get where I am, and I may not have gotten quite the level of exposure. It was pretty crazy when I received my first offer during the spring of my sophomore year. I was in weight room with the football team. Northern Illinois came to DHS for evaluation period. In other words, this is the time colleges from across the country can come into your school and watch your workout for the hour and really get a good realistic view on you. The defensive back coach came up to me during class and introduced himself. He told me he liked what he saw and planned to continue evaluating me throughout the hour and watch my film. Everyone cheered me on and gave me lots of confidence. The hour ended, and then I went to after school tutoring with Mr. Wood to help me with a math test the next day. During tutoring, Coach Powell called me out of the library and said the coach from Northern Illinois wanted to talk to me again. I didn’t think anything big was going to happen. Honestly, I thought he was just planning to tell me to come to camp at NIU and compete. I stood outside and shook his hand. There was a solid moment of silence and then he said the words I’d been waiting to hear for my entire entire athletic career. “Well I just wanna let you know I’m gonna offer you a scholarship to Northern Illinois!” It felt like a shotgun was shot through my stomach. I almost collapsed, and I started crying, thinking about how all of the hard work and determination finally paid off. The next few offers I received did not come as easy. I received an offer from Eastern Michigan University and not too long after, Boston College. Both schools had come to visit me, and I had visited both schools on multiple occasions. Once the first opportunity presented itself for me to compete at Eastern, I jumped on it. The problem was that I was suffering from patellar tendonitis which is

December 2, 2019 an extremely painful knee condition that limited my abilities. I showed up to the camp and there no less than 400 other kids there also competing. Some of them were already in Junior College (JUCO). The camp experience was like no other that I had ever been to up until that point. It

Photo courtsey of TCS pictures

was really hot and humid and right as the camp started, a torrential downpour of rain began. Essentially it no longer resembled a football camp, but instead had transformed into a military boot camp! There was no resting between stations. All of the traditional drills turned into a competition against another person. By the grace of God, I fought through the pain in my knees and endured through the mental toughness tests that they threw at me. As soon as the camp concluded, the Director of Player Personnel pulled me aside and told me to grab my dad, because the head coach, Chris Creighton, wanted to speak to us. We met up in his office and he said they don’t typically offer sophomores in high school, but he saw that I had the right amount of skill to play at the collegiate level. He offered me a scholarship right then and there. It was such a great feeling because of all of the time and work I put into this particular school. The Boston College offer process was very similar to what I experienced with EMU. It took months for me to finally get that offer. Their camp was tough but not as tough as the one at Eastern. I’ll never forget it because it was on my birthday, and my dad and I spent the entire day there. I knew I had one of my best performances to date when the camp wrapped up, but still I left with no offer. The coaches were very impressed, but they said they wanted to see my junior year film and evaluate me before making a final decision. A few months later, I finally proved myself to them, and they offered me while I was on my third visit there. After Boston College, offers just started rolling in. There were times when I would receive two or three offers in a day, which was pretty crazy for a kid my age, getting that type of attention. When it was all said and done, I accumulated a total of 23 Division 1 full-ride scholarships from the BIG 10, ACC, BIG 12, and PAC 12. I narrowed that down to my top six schools: Indiana University, Boston College, University of Minnesota, Michigan State University, Iowa State University, and North Carolina State University. Each school had their advantages in my opinion. For me, Indiana’s academic program was the best in the bunch. Boston College just had such a great tradition in terms of how the students and alumni interact with the team, like the player march into the stadium on game day. Minnesota had Head Coach PJ Fleck, a rising star in the college football world. Iowa State and NC State both had exciting new offensive schemes that tailored to my position, and the chance of early playing time for me at both

10 Sports Photo: Thomas Guajardo

While on a visit at Kentucky Guajardo poses to take a picture in the Kentucky gear. On April 18, 2019 Guajardo makes a catch at the Nike Opening. Photo: Thomas Guajardo

December 2, 2019 schools was a real possibility. Being able to learn from the legend, Coach Mark Dantonio, would be a priceless experience at Michigan State. Picking my final school and making my commitment was not an easy task. On March 16 2019, I officially gave my verbal commitment to Michigan State University. MSU has been my dream school for as far back as I can remember. Every time I stepped foot on campus I just felt like I was at home. The coaching staff and all the players treated me well and invited me into their family with open arms from day one. Every school had something to offer, and I know that I would have been just fine at any of them, but ultimately, Michigan State just felt like it was the right choice. I knew it in my heart. I remember once my mom told me she was going shopping. I asked her what she was looking for, and she said, “I don’t know, but I’ll know when I see it.” That’s how I felt when it came down to picking Michigan State. I didn’t always know exactly what I was looking for when I was going through the entire process, but MSU answered that question. Over the course of this past year, I have built very strong bonds with Head Coach Mark Dantonio, my tight end coach, Mark Staten, as well as the rest of the staff. I have visited East Lansing several times and have been able to spend a lot of time with fellow 2020 commits from across the country. Recently, I’ve received all kinds of questions and comments as to whether I was having second thoughts about committing to MSU, given their current season. My answer was and always will be the same- absolutely not. I will never regret my commitment to MSU, and I will always bleed green and white. The advice I would give to any athlete looking to not only play a competitive sport in college, but to also receive a full-ride scholarship, is to be mentally strong. The path that you must take is going to be filled with a lot of disappointing days, where you may not be hearing the feedback that you want to hear, or getting that offer you want right away. It takes a thick skin and persistence. Just don’t give up. Set goals and push yourself everyday. You will have to be the hardest worker in the room, period. This type of accomplishment isn’t easy. If it was, everyone would be doing it.

Photo courtsey of TCS pictures

Pictured on the top during the Dearborn High School at Canton High School football game. Guajardo and Whittaker celebrate after scoring a Touchdown

Pictured on the right on October 18, 2019 against Fordson High School. Guajardo makes an interception during the first quater off the game. Photo courtsey of TCS pictures

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