Sergeant Michael Taylor of the United States Army opened the prestigious Army All-American Presentation with the AAA motto, “Not just anyone can be a soldier, not just anyone can be an Army All-American.” Becoming an All-American is an honor greater than all others in the world of sports. It is a major step closer to the dreams of playing professional sports for all athletes, a step that was once taken by many of the current NFL stars including Odell Beckham Jr., Eric Berry and Andrew Luck, and many others. Friday, Sept. 29, three Heritage football players and one marching band member took this step as well, at the Army All-American Presentation presented by American Family Insurance.
Senior tuba player Dominique Cunningham, senior defensive tackle Nesta Jade Silvera, and senior cornerbacks Tyson Campbell and Patrick Surtain II were those named All-Americans and whom received their official invitations to the Army All-American Bowl Jan. 6. The presentation included performances by the orchestra and chants by the cheerleading squad. Among those in the audience were friends and families of the athletes, the entire football team and reporters from the Sun-Sentinel and Miami Herald.
The first recognized was Cunningham for her amazing tuba playing. Cunningham delivered an upbeat, yet sincere speech thanking all of the people who have helped her in her life, from bus drivers to fellow band members, to her parents and everyone in between. Cunningham also quoted Nelson Mandela saying, “It feels impossible until it’s done.” Following her acceptance, band coach Mrs. Kimberly Imbersin gave an emotional speech, citing that Cunningham had chosen all of the great decisions she had made in her life, including joining band.
The next to accept their invitation was Campbell, the No. 2 ranked cornerback in the nation. Campbell thanked all of his coaches for making him a better man on and off the field. He concluded with thanking his parents, “I try to make the Campbell name proud.”
Silvera received his black and yellow jersey next. Silvera started his speech with “Coming where I come from this doesn’t seem possible.” Silvera swears that this isn’t the end of his football career as he will play at the University of Miami next fall. “There are still many pages left in my book,” Silvera said. He ended his speech by thanking everyone who had helped him in his life, including his doubters.
Finally, No. 1 ranked cornerback in the nation Surtain II accepted his invitation to the bowl game. As well as thanking everyone in his life on and off the field, Surtain II vows to never forget Heritage. “I will always be a Heritage boy,” he said.
The Army All-American Presentation was an exciting and emotional event, but is just the start for these four impressive student athletes. The Army All-American Bowl can be viewed on NBC on Jan. 6 from the Alamodome in San Antonio, TX.