On the field, with his pregame speeches and shouts of encouragement for #56, he’s the fire, passion, and leader behind the football team. Off the field, he’s still that leader in his presidential position of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, his representation at Boy’s State, and his appointment to his dream school of West Point Military Academy. He is senior Michael Horne, and when it comes to being a leader, he’s one of the best options.
Horne credits his West Point acceptance to a number of roles throughout high school, the main one being his position on the football team.
Having four years of high school football under his belt, with three on varsity and two as a captain, Horne has been a consistent driving force behind the Bearcats, their run culminating in a CIF Championship win in the 2014-2015 school year.
“In this sport, in this life, nobody’s going to give it to you, nobody’s deserving, you’ve got to earn it,” Horne said. “I feel football goes hand in hand with that, in that whether it’s on the field, or in school, or in life, you’ve got to be committed to working hard and getting your place in this world.”
After three years of coaching him on varsity, Head Football coach Rich Schimke clearly noticed Horne’s “walk and talk”.
“The first time was after his freshman year… I recognized during the season that he could play as a sophomore on varsity,” Schimke said. “[He’s] determined, goal oriented, focused, and respectful. He’s definitely a leader by example”.
Teammate and friend senior Michael Velasquez agrees.
“I’ve never met anyone else like him. Every day, he gives his all to make himself and everyone around him better, be it in the weight room or on the field. He tries his hardest, and it just makes you want to give it all you got too,” said Velasquez, who played three years of high school football with Horne.
“He’s funny, always has some sort of quote or something from TV or a movie. Fun to hang around; he’s someone you know has your back, no matter what. [He’s] one of the nicest and funniest guys you’ll meet. But there’s a switch, and when he flips that switch, he’s completely focused and intense,” Velasquez said.
Horne has also amassed other achievements off the field. He is the current President of the FCA club, a four-time recipient of the Paso Robles Lions Club Sportsmanship Award, has one year of Leadership, and represented PRHS at the 2014 Boys State, while maintaining a 4.17 GPA.
Horne has a personal motivator: Jesus Christ.
“Being a Christian means I have this peace, confidence, and acceptance wherever I go in Jesus Christ,” Horne said. “Jesus Christ tells me that I am with you always, whether it’s the military, school, sports or life, I know that the task in front of me is never as great as the power behind me.”
Sharing in his faith are his mother and brother, Debbie and alumnus Jesse Horne. They have seen Michael’s growth, especially in his dream and success of attending West Point.
Debbie has been a consistent witness to Michael’s goal, which started when he was eight years old and read about the history of the presidents. Noticing many of them graduated from West Point, he started to study up on the US Military Academy, and a dream was borne.
After months of stress, anxiety and waiting, the Hornes’ were finally gifted with amazing news..”After the relief, I was flooded with joy and gratitude,” Debbie said. “I knew my son’s heart desire and his passion to attend USMA, and I was so thankful to God for hearing and answering our prayers for Michael’s future direction.”
Jesse, who was also a super senior, will graduate from West Point this year. He is fully confident that Horne will find himself at West Point, where he will be leaving for two weeks after he graduates high school.
“I’m glad Michael is going to West Point. I think it is going to be a good fit for him. He can definitely challenge himself here which I think is exactly what he is looking for.” Jesse said.
“Michael has always given himself 100 percent to whatever he’s doing. Whether it’s tae kwon do, football, or school, there is no half effort. He shouldn’t have any problems as long as he continues to go 100 percent like he always does.”
Horne plans to declare his major in his second year at West Point, in addition to learning Russian or Arabic to possibly become a translator.
“Someday, there will be a day when man is no more… but if for one second he can inspire others, for one second he can make others’ hearts beat faster, then that man will never die. That man’s soul will never die because he will live on in the hearts of others and if he can speak to them and act in ways that motivate them, then he can live forever, and that’s what makes me motivated,” Horne said.