The Coach Who Changed My Life

The Coach Who Changed My Life

"I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the Earth." -Lou Gehrig

no, Life works in mysterious ways. Whether by sheer luck or simply intertwined fate, we all have that one person who enters our life and changes it in ways that we cannot possibly have foreseen. I met this man when I was just seven years old; my very first wrestling coach: Wilbur Borrero.

I remember attending my first wrestling camp nearly 12 years ago, which was being held at my future high school. Meeting him for the first time was like meeting a giant from my viewpoint. He had silvery grey hair, a nearly bone-crushing handshake, and a booming voice that echoed off the walls like a thunderstorm. To be honest, I was a little scared of him at first. But, as the practice rolled on, I decided that his bark was worse than his bite. Across the span of just three days, his instruction took me from a curious spectator, to a fanatic participant.

Coach wanted me to start on the varsity team right away. At first I was shocked and didn't know what to think. But, I decided that there must be a reason for his confidence and I accepted his challenge.

In youth wrestling, I usually made good jumps in skill each year. In high school, coach Borrero transformed and refined my abilities to take me from a wrestler with potential, to a wrestler who could contend for a state championship. In this time, he taught me how to work hard, make sacrifice, and lead a team.

Coach Borrero has a marvelous ability to integrate fun into an otherwise grueling practice. He makes you want to work hard and become not just the best wrestler you can, but also the best person as well. His philosophy advocates "family first, education second, and sports third." This principle has stuck with me since the very first time I heard it all those years ago. Across the time that he trained me, our relationship grew closer and tighter. By the end of my senior year, he had become like a second father to me. I came to value and respect everything about the man who I had come to revere.

Coach Borreo's training prepared me for not only my opponents on the mat, but also the opponents and obstacles I will face throughout my life. And I will be eternally grateful for everything he has done for me. He's been there for me at some of my highest and lowest points, he's been there to give me a laugh, and of course he's always been there to kick my ass when need be.

As I age, I aspire to be everything that he is, and hope to continue to make him proud. Without his help, I could not have become the athlete and man that I am today. Thank you coach Borrero. Thank you for changing my life.

Cover Image Credit: Frank Dlugopolski

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8 Pieces Of Advice I Have For High School Seniors About To Enter College

You will either love me or hate me after reading this.

Dear high school seniors, there are some things you need to know.

1. Boys/girls

Yeah, you read that right. Don't follow your boyfriend/girlfriend to college. If you do, it could be because you really enjoy that school and the education system is phenomenal and is absolutely meant for the both of you. But, if you are someone like me who was an idiot and decided to "follow their heart," don't.

Your the love that is all good and pure, DON'T DO IT.

I'm not saying the relationship won't last, maybe you're great at long distance. I'm saying this to allow you to think about what is best for you and your education, don't ruin it and go to some college you have never heard of because a boy/girl told you to.

Granted, I personally ruined my education by skipping class, but that's another point we will get to later. The school wasn't bad at all, it just wasn't my first choice. I did have some great times there, but I was never entirely happy with myself or my choice. So, please consider yourself before another person on this. Your boyfriend/girlfriend isn't going to get your degree for you.

2. Parties

Some of you are thinking, yeah right I will never go to a party. Don't lie. I said that to and I went. I was completely against it, I hated the thought of getting drunk for entertainment and dancing and taking shots. I found it disgusting and repulsive, yet I still did it. Someone you probably never will, congrats to you.

For those of you who will or already do for that matter, don't let it ruin your education and don't go to college just to party, you will literally be in debt by thousands and want to punch yourself in the face later, I know because I have many friends that have experienced that on a personal level.

3. Sorority/fraternity

Since we are talking about parties, allow me to introduce to you Greek life. For those of you who are going to rush because you think it's cool and will make you popular, you're absolutely right it will. But, for what you think it is, it's much more. Greek life doesn't sit idly by and throw their drinks in the air and have parties 24/7.

Parties are a thing, but Greek life is so much more than just a party. It's a commitment. Philanthropy, fundraisers, dues, initiation, etc.. It's beyond what you could imagine and once you understand the meaning of everything, it means that much more to you. It's an honor to be a Greek. We wear our letters with pride and don't bat an eye to those who despise us because we know what it means to wear our letters.

4. 4.0

Many of you will probably want to punch me after I say this. But, getting a 4.0 in college. Good luck. For those of you who have a 4.0 right now in high school, congratulations. All of those AP classes and extracurricular activities paid off.

Now multiply that by 50 and you have college. Want to graduate Summa Cum Laude? Work your ass off. Don't join Greek Life in your first year, especially the first semester, it only makes it THAT much harder.

5. Major/minor

Don't pick something just because it sounds cool or you were good at it in high school. You may not have something you are completely passionate about. That can be a good thing.

Get your basics out of the way, take a class or two each semester from different majors/minors and allow yourself to experience before going into something that you could regret later.

6. On-campus activities/concerts

Go to them. You will get bored and you will want to have something to do. I understand you are shy, but they have activities that allow you to become more open and express yourself. Go, make friends, have a great time, enjoy yourself.

Don't sit in your room on your bed watching Netflix 24/7 and then regret not going to the water balloon fight the next day. They do these activities for all students, all they ask is you bring your student ID. It's a complete blast and a great way to make some fun college memories without partying.

7. Loans

Steer away from them as much as possible. That's really the only thing I have to say about it.

8. Work

Get a job. There will be expenses at school that you wouldn't have ever thought of. Trust me when I say take advantage of work-study positions and places that are hiring close to campus.

Cover Image Credit: @theswirlblog

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School Funding Matters

A rich, robust, well-resourced public education is one of the best routes out of poverty and a pathway to prosperity.

In 2014, the U.S. ranked at the bottom of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s countries for graduation rates. This is a huge concern our country faces: American youth do not receive the educational opportunities that they need and deserve to be able to compete in today’s global society.

In some areas, schools are unable to provide for their students because they lack the proper resources. In rural areas, students are less likely to do well on End-of-Course (EOC) exams and have lower graduation rates than other areas. Local school districts base their funding on property tax (local government source of revenue), formula assistance (state source of revenue), and a special education grant (federal government source of revenue). It is not fair to the students and faculty that attend schools with minimal funding because it reduces their chance of success.

Think about how some schools are able to provide iPads, updated computers, and SmartBoards to all their classes in comparison with schools that use outdated textbooks and do not have enough resources to provide for the teachers and classes. Some schools have classes like digital media or astronomy, while others do not. This all boils down to the funding and resources available.

Rural school districts are lower performing academically in comparison to their urban and suburban counterparts. However, rural school districts have greater levels of parental and community involvement and lower student-teacher ratios. The big issue is that rural school districts are not getting the fair amount of funds, which affects the poor and minority students in those areas.

Rural school districts generally have a smaller amount of financial resources and, therefore, are unable to meet typical necessities. such as purchasing new textbooks or funding bus transportation. There are also new challenges, such as providing services to the increasing number of English Language Learners.

With a limited budget, there is a difficulty in teacher recruitment and development, and poorly funded school districts are unable to meet the expectation of other districts. For example, they are unable to match the salaries and development opportunities offered in other areas which reduces the number of advanced degree teachers and forces teachers to look to other areas in order to be able to provide for their own families.

In my opinion, students are able to retain more information when they are in a better environment and have access to the necessary educational resources. Schools that do not have sufficient materials show lower test scores and less student participation. Also, teachers are able to create more inclusive lessons when provided with the materials and equipment to teach.

Unequal funding to school districts is a social problem that should be our top priority. The government has tried to solve this problem by creating multiple federal policies; however, school districts are still suffering from unequal funding.

Schools that are capable of providing a respectable learning environment will be able to get kids to value their future through becoming better learners. With equal funding and resources, more school districts will have a fair chance at providing students and teachers with the best opportunities for success.

Cover Image Credit: Laurie Sullivan

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