Rider student-athlete balances boxing career with academic success

He is looking to become the first person in his family to graduate college.
Published: Dec. 2, 2021 at 7:38 PM CST
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WICHITA FALLS, Texas (KAUZ) - A student-athlete at Rider High School is balancing his boxing career with academics, keeping his grades up in the classroom while battling inside the ring.

Emmanuel Carrillo Jr. is one of the top boxers in his weight class and has a promising future if he chooses to go that route. However, he is also a standout student and wants to become the first person in his family to graduate college.

With the help of the Road to College Program, he looks to do so.

“I definitely want to get a degree, be the first from my family to graduate college,” Carrillo Jr. said. “I don’t know what kind of degree, still trying to figure that out but I definitely want to do that.”

READ: A Rider student-athlete’s boxing journey

Carrillo Jr. is trying to balance being one of the top boxers in the nation with being a normal high school student, but he doesn’t want to be normal. He wants to succeed at the highest level in everything he does.

“To me, Emmanuel is one of those students that is the exception to the rule,” Gonzalo Robles, founder of the Road to College Program, said. “He is way more mature than his age. Sometimes I get concerned because he is very serious and driven about everything.”

Carrillo Jr. joined the Road to College Program in 2019, which is designed to help high school students prepare for college.

“It just provides them the resources to apply for scholarships and financial aid,” Troy Farris, assistant principal at Rider High School, said. “It also helps them prepare to take that next step once graduating high school.”

Carrillo Jr.’s progression in the program has been recognized; he is now a mentor for underclassmen.

“Can you imagine that, he is a junior,” Robles said. “All of the things that he is doing with boxing and his academics and working, because he works, and he still has the time to volunteer as a high school mentor with us and oversee all those students. To me, that is leadership, a clear example of leadership and that’s what we need, this is the type of students that we need.”

“I have learned a lot of leadership skills in this program and how to help others mentor others and guide them through, the same way I am being guided,” Carrillo Jr. said.

Carrillo Jr. said this program has also helped his boxing career, taking some of the things he’s learned into the ring.

“I study the same way,” Carrillo Jr. said. “I study different fighters, different styles of fighting so it is like the same way I kind of translate how I do my school work into sports. Kind of the same way as sports, I work hard, train a lot and try to stay dedicated. I translate that to the school part and do the same things for my classes.”

Carrillo Jr. said anything can happen in life so if his boxing career came to an abrupt end, he would need his education to fall back on. That’s why it is so important for everyone, including athletes, to apply themselves in the classroom and his mentors could not be more proud.

“It is amazing watching him grow into the leader that he is today,” Farris said.

“We are extremely proud of him, we are extremely proud that he is a part of our program,” Robles said. “We are blessed.”

The program is for anyone that wants to get a jump start on college and for Carrillo Jr., he said he would not be where he is today without it.

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