Archbishop's web site Denver Catholic Register Parishes Catholic Pastoral Center
February 21, 2001
Athlete seeks to motivate others
By Roxanne King
It's not enough that University of Colorado football player Marcus Houston is a winning athlete, he wants to help other youth to become winners, too. And when he talks, kids listen. Just ask the students at All Souls School in Englewood.
In January, the Buffaloes running back gave a motivational talk to All Souls middle school students and an assignment. Students were required to write an essay on the topic "How I Can be a Success." Houston returned to the school Feb. 8 to award $50 each to the three students who penned the best essays. On top of that, he bought them and several of their friends lunch pizza.
Essay winners included sixth-grader Matt Dea, seventh-grader Angie Giuliano, and eighth-grader Diane Wilson.
"I thought he was a pretty cool guy," Dea said. "He talked about what happened in his life and what success means to him and how it affected him. He succeeded in what he wanted to do. I thought that was neat."
Dea dreams of someday being a priest, a professional athlete or a teacher. His idea of success?
"I think success is being able to achieve a goal or something that you look up to," he said.
Being ready to meet the challenge when opportunity knocks was the insight Dea gained from Houston's talk, the middle-schooler said.
"He said he was a backup and would sit on the bench and wait until the end of the game to get his Twinkie and soda," Dea said recalling the football player's speech. "One time, the first running back got injured and the coach said, `Marcus, you're in.' That's how he got started."
All Souls assistant principal Jan Altevogt said Houston also emphasized that the students should be of service to their community and others.
"He is a wonderful role model," Altevogt said. "He feels blessed to have the opportunities he has and this is his way of giving back motivating students to give back as well."
That message wasn't lost on Dea.
"He's giving part of his money to charity," Altevogt said.