Month: March 2018

Follow The Leader

Jake Turner is simply put, a leader. ASB President at Damien, Football Captain, and he soon will be enrolling into West Point in the Fall. The Sky is the limit for this transformative scholar athlete.

      As most high school students in the Inland Empire can relate, being a student athlete today is never easy. Juggling school, sports, family, friends, and other extracurriculars can be a very overbearing experience at times, but it’s all how you prioritize and approach each agenda.

    My experience at Damien High School has certainly been challenging, but rewarding nonetheless. Going into high school, I already knew I wanted to apply myself to some type of leadership role; it just took some time for me to figure out how. When I heard the morning announcement for elections for class office my freshman year, I knew that it was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up. Since then, I have been voted in as Class Vice President for my freshman and sophomore years, Class President for my junior year, and ASB President for my senior year.

    This final year especially, my schedule has been packed. A day in my life includes 4 AP classes, one IB class, recording the school-wide daily announcements, meetings during lunch, planning events after school with ASB, and 2-3 hour long sport practices every single day between Football and Track. Plus extracurricular events like my participation in Congresswoman Norma Torres’ Youth Advisory Committee. As a member of ASB, you are held to a higher standard among faculty, parents, members of the school community, and even the student population. The responsibilities you take on are high and expectations of you are even higher.

     My duties as ASB President are truly a widely-ranged spectrum. I often act as a middle man between the students and the faculty, engaging in the ideas of both. I communicate to the faculty whatever the students want to see get done, and vice versa. Day-to-day, I help coordinate and undertake the morning prayer and announcements and unexpected tasks as they arise.

    Working with the faculty, I help plan events across campus, such as pizza sales, fundraisers, rallies, etc. Something new happens every single day, but whatever it is that I am doing, I take pride in what I do. As a result, my duties never feel like a chore or assignment, but as something fun or enjoyable in my life.

     Being a representative of the student body has allowed me to make close relationships with all types of people at Damien, not just athletes. Over the years I have come to make strong connections with different classes, grade levels, clubs, sports, members of the faculty, and many more. The leadership roles I have taken on in the classroom and on campus also ultimately helped me transition into being a leader on the field, as I was elected Co-Captain of my Varsity Football Team, and received other athletic accolades such as one of the Baseline League’s Outstanding Scholar/Athletes. These parts of my life are closely connected–one often stemming off the other. I believe my leadership in high school helped me recently receive an offer of admission to the United States Military Academy Preparatory School at West Point.

     With so much going on, you often feel as if the weight of the world is on your shoulders. Some might assume you’d buckle under the pressure of it all. Yes, I’ll admit it can be a lot of work, but as I look back at the experiences I have had and the memories I have made, it has been totally worth it. Being a student athlete and ASB president has prepared me for life itself, learning many lessons along the way.


Jake Turner

Damien High School

Class of 2018


Remembering Tyler Hilinski

By J.R. Rucker


When I first met Tyler Hilinski, he was in the 11th grade at Upland High School. We met in Chino Hills for a team photoshoot and the first thing that I noticed about him was that he called me “Bud”. Not in a disrespectful way, but a cool almost NFL QB way. I would give him suggestions for picture ideas and would just say, “cool whatever you need “Bud”. Over time I almost felt like he was the 40 year old and I was the teenager, due to his maturity and poise.

Tyler Hilinski was and is a special young man. He was not the cocky, “me first” guy that sometimes comes with being a prominent student athlete. Hilinski was just really … cool. The kind of cool where you knew he was the guy you wanted under center if the game was on the line. Tyler was also the guy that you wanted your son to hang out with and your daughter to date.

During a break in our first photoshoot I had a chance to speak with Tyler’s Father, Mr. Hilinski. Like his son, Mr. Hilinski was really easy going and not the super intense sports Dad that we often see with star high school athletes. I could see where Tyler got his easy flow style from. On our 2nd photoshoot the plan was to have Ford of Upland bring a green Ford Mustang for the team to pose with. They were the #1 preseason team and we wanted the picture to make a big splash. I remember it being a really hot day and Tyler’s teammates began to get restless as we waited 30 minutes for the car to arrive. Tyler began to make conversation with everyone and started to throw the football around making the mood light and easy. Tyler was a leader without going out of his way to be one

I choose to remember Tyler as that gracious young man that was so easy to work with. Tyler shares the same birthday as my daughter, who is now two years old. One day I am going to tell her about an awesome young man that she shares her birthday with.

IE Preps Magazine asks that you support Hilinksi’s Hope Foundation and keep his family and loved ones in your prayers. Tyler we will see you soon and we miss you. – “BUD”

The “BullDog” Mentality

Colony Class of 2018 Star Defensive Lineman and Fresno State commit writes about his hard work on the football field and in the classroom. Matt has a 3.8 GPA while taking several AP classes.

Mathew Lawson Colony 

     Coming out of middle school I wasn’t really a stud in the classroom. I came out of middle school with 3 A’s & 3 F’s, the bare minimum to move on. I decided that my freshman year of high school that raising my grades would be my number one priority. After cutting time out of other activities I managed to get straight A’s that first semester. This was around the time a lot of students, parents, & teachers told me I should try out for football. I reluctantly caved in and tried out, making the team.

     The Colony football team had just come off a CIF title & still had a lot of guys coming back so I was originally nervous at first. However once I applied the work ethic I had in the classroom to the field, I left a good impression on the coaches. After a couple months of practicing with the team I was informed by the coaches that I would be starting for the scrimmage at La Puente. I completely got destroyed on the line. When we did our first film study I got chewed out heavily for not getting off the ball quick enough & or aggressively. In my mind it wasnt that I couldn’t do it, but I wasn’t willing to sacrifice for it. This was similar to what previously happened in the classroom. It wasn’t that I couldn’t get good grades. It was just that I didn’t want to sacrifice anything to get them.

     Going forward into my first varsity game, I was nervous again. Was I going to be flop or a stud? Am I going to let my coaches down? First snap goes & I get held up at the line. The same thing happens the second play. I don’t know what took over my the third play but I bursted off the line, dove at the QB, & caused a sack/strip fumble. At the end of my that game I recorded 3 sacks, 2 forced fumbles, & 8 tackles. After that the rest was history. That sophomore season I made sure to let people know who I am.

     Playing college football wasn’t really on my mind until the end of my Junior season after I received my first offer. After that everything changed. It wasn’t just my coaches expecting greatness out of me, it was everyone around me. My senior year rolls around and by this time I have about 10 offers. I’m not going to lie, I was a little cocky at this point. Luckily I had good high school coaches because they broke me down & built me back up. We also changed the defense to three down linemen so I was the only big guy in the middle. It didn’t really bother me & I had somewhat of a good season. Once it came around to choose a college I had a hard time. Luckily after my official visit to Fresno State I realized this was my home & became a bulldog. I don’t know how well I’ll do in college but if I apply myself like I did in the classroom I can say these next four years are going to really fun!


– Matt Lawson