For a young man whose first experience playing organized sports was as a sixth grader at Nativity, Javier L. has certainly come a long way. More recently, as a freshman at Saint Augustine High School’s Class of 2017, Javier was recognized for his athleticism and leadership by the football staff at Saints by winning the prestigious Defensive Player of the Year Award.
“Before Nativity, I didn’t play sports,” Javier said recently on a return trip to Nativity Prep. “Nativity taught me a lot of things…not just in the classroom, but on the playing field as well.”
In his first season of high school football, Javier was a stand-out on the freshman team, a group that finished the fall season with an overall record of 5-3.
“Probably our hardest game of the season was against San Diego High School,” Javier recalls. “They were big and strong, but we ended up winning the game. It was a great accomplishment for us (him and his teammates).”
While at Nativity, Javier Played three years of flag football with the Nativity Prep team, one that competed against other local Parochial Catholic schools in the diocesan sports league. Javier also played for three years on the Nativity basketball and soccer teams. In his seventh-grade year, the boys’ soccer team at Nativity ended up winning the diocesan sports league championship.
“That was a great year,” he says of the accomplishment of the Nativity soccer championship. “It was such a good feeling…I knew that when I went to high school, I wanted to continue participating as an athlete on a team sport.”
Javier’s sense of sportsmanship and his untiring work ethic were in many ways what made him stand out as a freshman. His decision to participate freely, of his own choosing, in the after-practice ‘Fun House,’ for players who for one reason or another needed an extra dose of discipline, is a shining example of Javier’s sense of camaraderie and sportsmanship.
“After every practice,” Javier says, “if you forgot your uniform or had earned a detention at school for making a bad decision or forgetting your homework…the coaches made you stay and do extra laps around the practice field…or would make you do extra reps in the weight room. For me, I decided to stay on my own just to get better as an athlete and to show my support for the guys on the team who had to stay.”
When his mom commented on Javier’s award, she was obviously moved by the recognition he earned from his coaches.
“I really do credit Nativity for all of this…the lessons he learned here about respect and hard work, and the skills he learned as an athlete,” Javier’s mom Mary said recently.
“His grades are very good, too, and that’s most important to us….I am very grateful to all of you at Nativity…his teachers, coaches, mentors, and tutors. We’re just so proud of him.”
If you would like to sponsor a student or a graduate, or if you would like more information about doing so, please click here.