By Stephanie Perez
A dedicated student-athlete will be flying away from his alma mater, Hoover High School, into a new stage of life at the University of Arizona, where he will play defensive end for the Wildcats football team. Dame Ndiaye, a native of Senegal, was courted by several other universities’ athletics programs.
Born in 1993, he spent the first seven years of his life in Africa before joining his father in New York. Growing up in the Big Apple gave him a new way of seeing life and sparked in him a desire to discover the world around him. New York was the perfect place for him to learn about different cultures and people. He lived there for about fourteen years.
Before beginning high school, he decided he needed a change in his life so he moved to San Diego to live with his brother. “I wanted to go to high school somewhere different than New York. New York was all I knew,” Ndiaye said.
When he first moved to San Diego, he had great expectations about the area, especially what high school here, would be like. He wasn’t disappointed. At Hoover High, he felt comfortable and welcomed, even though it was completely different from New York. He participated in different clubs, sports, and organizations. Some of the programs he has been part of include: Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID), Young Life, varsity football and basketball, and track and field. Being part of these programs has led him to become a great student and athlete, as well as discover someone different within himself.
Although Ndiaye is planning a career in football, he did not hit the gridiron until his senior year at Hoover. For a good part of his high school career, he was better known for his skills on the basketball court.
“Hoover has been everything I expected it to be. I don’t think I could ask for it to be different or change anything over these last four years,” Ndiaye said. “Being part of basketball, football, and AVID and other clubs and organizations has given me friends and a new family, but it has also helped me grow as a student and a person. I love Hoover.”
Being a student-athlete was tough for Ndiaye. He struggled with academics, but found any way possible to earn decent grades and advance to the next school year. While the 6-foot-4 athlete loves sports, his first priority is academics. “I am a student before an athlete,” he said. Because of his hard work and determination on and off the field, he has come a long way.
Stephanie Perez is a senior at Hoover High School and editor-in-chief of The Cardinal