Hello folks, hope everyone had a great weekend! I was contacted the other day by one of my former students who asked me for some help, and I figured since we're a football loving community---that you guys may be able to help as well. Let me get right to the point.
My student was selected to take part in this years Down Under Bowl in Austrailia. He was one of only eight students to be selected from the state of Arizona to participate. Basically the program gives high school students the opportunity to go down under to participate in a football camp with other students selected nationally and internationally, and at the end of the practices, they play a couple of games to determine the champions. Here is a quote taken directly from the website:
The Down Under Bowl was inaugurated in 1989 and was established to promote gridiron to the people of New Zealand and Australia. Prior standouts of the Down Under Bowl include Jake "The Snake" Plummer - former quarterback for the Denver Broncos, Ahman Green - running back for the Green Bay Packers, and Rob Morris - 2007 Super Bowl Champ with the Indianapolis Colts. Many top universities have Down Under Bowl alumni.
The Down Under Bowl is in its 23rd year of competition with teams from the United States, Australia, and New Zealand invited to participate. Teams are divided into brackets of four, with each team playing in two games. Games are played according to High School Federation Rules. Game time consists of four 12-minute quarters, with a minute between quarters. Half time is 15 minutes. Officials are from the United States and Australia.
Here is also a link to the website as well: Down Under Sports
If anyone deserves a chance to experience something like this---which is a once in a lifetime opportunity--- it's "Dino". I was a teacher in the small town of Patagonia, AZ from 2008-2011. It is a very small community, Bradfather can attest because I think he did some missionary work in this region back when. The town itself spans the distance of mile marker 22 to mile marker 18 on Highway 82.
Dino was one of the students I had the privilege of teaching during that time. He is the epitome of hard work and high character. I got to know Dino really well during the course of two classes. The first was a weightlifting class I was asked to teach. It was here that I learned of Dino's love for football. Every class we would talk about the NFL and the past weekends games. It also became common for us to engage in friendly smack talk as Dino is a Bears fan (this was around the time of the Cutler trade). Strength and lifting is one thing, but you can learn a lot about a student from the way they deal with adversity in a real class setting.
The following year, one of the classes I monitored was a study hall that Dino was in. He came to me early on and was struggling with Algebra. So day after day we worked at it. And I started to get him to think about it in terms of football and use stats in a way to explain the numbers and relationships. I was so proud of the way he came through the process, it's one thing to have courage and a positive attitude when things are good, it's another to have these things when you're struggling, and I really think that is Dino's best quality.
Dino's a worker, he's a person you can count on to be straight with you, he's someone you can count on to be there for his teammates and friends.
I vouch for him, and can promise that he would make the most out of this opportunity if given a chance. I also know that where he comes from, the world is a very small place and that this truly is a once in a lifetime opportunity to experience something beyond the confines of Patagonia.
So how can you help?
Well folks, as with most things in life, there is a price. Even though my student was selected, he still has to pony up the majority of the funds to be able to attend, and as you can imagine it is expensive. Folks from this town have been helping with small donations here and there. Dino's grandmother has even been setting aside $300-$400 a month for several months to help him out. Dino has been working odd jobs on weekends and doing fundraising car washes during the week to help raise funds. At this point, he is about $4000 short of what he needs to make the trip.
So I'm asking my MHR friends to pitch in if you can. Anything helps---whether it be $10-$20. You can send the checks directly to the school (made out to Fernando Herrera). Here is the address:
Thelma Valenzuela (she is the schools' athletic director)
Patagonia Public Schools
P.O. Box 254
200 Naugle Avenue
Patagonia, Arizona 85624
You can also give Thelma a call for more details if you would like: Phone: 520-394-3004
Hey, I'm thankful for anything you guys can do to help this young man out. I don't ever do this, but please rec so it goes to the top, and please tweet this out so we can get this information out. Thanks for your time and if you have any questions, just post them in the comments.