My move to Forest Hills Central High School as a freshman wasn’t one that I was very comfortable with at the start. Despite that, I would have never thought that my time at FHC would bring me so many memories. Through a pandemic and all, my time here is one to definitely reflect on.
In my four years here at Forest Hills Central, I have been lucky to be a part of one of the best high school football programs in the state of Michigan. FHC Football has brought me so much joy in my life, and the lessons it has taught me I would never trade for anything else. Some of the greatest times were during my sophomore year; the JV team beat Grandville after losing to them big the previous season. It was one of the best games I’ve personally played, with my teammates as well. A COVID-stricken junior season wasn’t one I was most proud of, but beating Northern twice in one season feels pretty good if you ask me. The biggest growth I had in football was during my senior year. Taking on more of a leadership role, I felt more confident and stronger throughout the season. Although I sat behind a Division-I commit (shoutout to Crandall), I learned a lot. Between the weekly lineman dinners, the riveting home opener against Grand Blanc, and a conference championship, my senior football season was one to remember.
To Coach Rogers, Coach Fortino, Coach Robbins, and Coach Hallock, thank you for the lessons that you have all taught me. From Hallock coaching me how to block on an extra point in the middle of a game and Fortino telling me not to arch on a power play, to Robbins telling me to get low and not chop my feet, all the silly remarks and lessons have taught me more than I can remember. Thank you for your role in helping me grow as a man and continuing to always have my back day in and day out on the field and off of it.
One of the bigger parts of my life outside of sports was in my TV Broadcast class, or as we like to call it FX class. Starting the class out my junior year, I had always wanted to be related to the side of sports broadcasting and this class helped me develop a ton of skills that I thought I would have never have coming into Forest Hills Central. Making countless stories for the show and a couple of short films was a great time for me, and I will never forget the memories of making those stories and films. But, I won’t miss sitting in front of the computer editing those short films for hours on end.
To Cole and Andrew, thank you for being some of the greatest teammates in class and helping me and Mac create the film. You guys have worked so hard all year and I can’t thank you guys enough for the sacrifice you guys made to finish out the year strong. To Mr. Manders, thank you for teaching me all that I know about media technology and creating media for an audience. I’ll definitely miss the early morning talks with Jack, Mr. Labenz, and you before school and the countless hours that you gave to the class to help us feel more at home here at school.
Now, for probably the biggest part of my high school career, one that I would never trade for anything. The FHC Sports Report has been the biggest part of my life in recent years and there are a ton of things to reflect on and people to thank.
It all started my freshman year during the class selection day. I knew what the FHC Sports Report was, and since I was very interested in sports, I thought I might as well take a stroll through the classroom and see what the class is like. I was introduced by then editor-in-chief Molly Donovan, Matthew Mahoney, Tommy Spaletto, and Sam Tuori. I asked them, “Would you recommend I take this class?” And without hesitation, Sam looked at me and said, “Hop, you would be a great fit for this class. You love sports and writing. It will only make you a better writer.”
I joined the class in the second semester of the 2019-2020 school year and being the new guy in the class kind of felt like I was intruding on something. The class clearly had a bond that was second-to-none and it seemed weird to be in the mix of everything. Although it seemed weird, I got to work right away on my first assignments for bowling and competitive cheer. It wasn’t one that I was most proud of and looking back on those stories, I can say that my writing has improved tremendously in the past two years. As the weeks went along though, I started to get closer to everyone in the class. With Tommy and Matthew as editors and writers like Erv, Zoe, Gwen, Ally, Eli, and Jonah in the class, everyone meshed well eventually and we started clicking on all cylinders. Halfway through the semester, though, a pandemic struck and the school year in person was cut off short. Despite the pandemic affecting those seniors, I think that the Sports Report gave them a proper way to say goodbye to a short-lived high school career.
To Ally and Tommy, thank you for starting the development of me becoming the writer I am today. From the subtle remarks that always seemed to make everyone laugh to everyone pressuring me into going to buy pizza, I will never forget any of the time in that class during my sophomore year.
As junior year started, I knew that I needed to step up in the Sports Report room and become a more established writer and make more of an influence on the class. While Joe, Matthew, Zoe, Erv, and Gwen all returned to the class with me, the Sports Report welcomed a bunch of new faces to the class. With Matthew and Erv now being the editors of the class, they brought in newcomers like Sydney, Mason, Louis, Mac, Pierson, Tate, and Thomas. It was tough to write at that point in time because the pandemic was still a thing and while the government had to hold off on high school sports being played, we had to figure out what to write about. That’s where the professional sports world came into play. I love football and writing about it to start the 2020-2021 year was a great time. The class also had a special bond that was second-to-none compared to the previous class of sports reporters. As the year went along and high school sports finally started yet again, the class grew closer together. Through tough times, a lot of joking around, and even branching off from The Central Trend to make our own site, we all kept focus and had a great time doing what we loved.
To Sydney, Gwen, Zoe, and Mason, thank you for always having a positive attitude throughout the year and pushing everyone to be better in the class. You guys always made a great audience for Mac’s rants during the year. To Louis, although your Sports Report career was only a semester, your impact on the site never went unnoticed. Thanks for your writing and I will always remember the texts after reacting to the TCT meetings. To Matthew and Erv, thank you for choosing me to become an editor of this site alongside Tate and Thomas. Both of you impacted the Sports Report so much and we would never be here without you guys.
And finally, we have arrived at the all-coveted senior year. It’s hard to believe that I will be graduating soon, as it felt like yesterday that it was my first day here.
The Sports Report went back to a normal state my senior year, but now led by Tate, Thomas, and myself, the class would be different than in previous years. First off, the class had a new advisor, Mr. Sultini, who didn’t know what he was getting into to start but definitely grew closer to everyone as the year went on. All the juniors from the previous class returned and the class brought in new faces as it always does, with Teague, Lucas, Riley, and Serena all joining the class during the year. One of my favorite memories of my senior year was definitely the College Gameday-esque show that was hosted during the Grand Blanc game early in the year. Although I didn’t get to host the show because I was playing in the game, the behind-the-scenes work by everyone never went unnoticed that day. A couple of other great memories were when Joe decided to see if he could balance whipped cream on his face and Mac finding an interest in one of FHC’s special alumni. After a great first half of the year, though, I had made my college decision to continue at Davenport University and study sports management. What came along with that would be sacrifices I wouldn’t have made just a couple of months prior. I had to fit in some classes during the second semester to get in college credits while taking a couple of online courses at DU to get ahead before I graduated. With that came giving up my sixth-hour time slot for the Sports Report class. It was huge that Mr. Sultini helped me move into a fifth-hour independent study with him so that I could continue to work with the Sports Report but not be directly involved every day. It was hard getting used to, but with the help of Joe and Mr. Sultini, I got a lot more done for the site and had some fun along the way.
This list is going to be long, so bear with me.
To Noah and Ian, you guys jumped right into the mix this year and both had great writing the entire time. Along with that, you guys always did the little things throughout the year to help us out and I greatly appreciate you for that. To Pierson, the past two years with you in class have been great. I finally had someone to talk to about Michigan sports without getting heckled at left and right by the rest of the class. Along with that, thank you for being a great personality on the podcast alongside Noah and me. I will never forget the NBA top 10 debate and the countless other podcasts we made. To Mac, although I’ve known you since seventh grade with football, we never grew as close as we did until this year. Having you as an FX teammate and being the biggest personality in the classroom made you seem a little excessive at times, but I would never trade any of them for anything. Thank you for having my back throughout the years and I’ll always remember bringing out the flags with you before each and every game we played. To Tate and Thomas, thank you for being the greatest editors that I’ve known. You guys put in a ton of time and effort and none of it was taken for granted. Your writing has always been top-level and I can’t wait to see what you guys do in the future. To Mr. Sultini, It seemed like it all started with you yelling at me on the sidelines in Greenville during the final game of my JV season (the punch that guy got was definitely well-deserved). We grew a lot closer when I went into independent study and had you as an English teacher alongside that. You made my writing grow to end my high school career strong. Thank you for having my back in the good times and in the bad. I looked forward to always coming into your room and giving you a fistbump, knowing it was going to be a good day. To Lucas, Teague, Riley, and Serena, never take this class for granted. This class truly changed my life and I hope that it will do the same for you guys as well.
As I write this to you, I would have never thought that my goodbyes to FHC would be this hard. From what seemed like a basic public school when I came into now a community of people that would stick up for me, it’s hard to say goodbye to a huge part of life. Although that’s the case, the next chapter will have so many new beginnings for me and I look forward to the next four. Goodbye and thank you for everything, FHC.