Kick it back with alumni athletes

Celebrating 15 years of DPMHS alumni athletes.
Alumnus Christopher Rodriguez sends a long free kick to the team’s forwards in the opposing team’s half of the preseason home opener on Sept. 1, 2023. The match against Chatham University ended with a winning score of 3-0.
Alumnus Christopher Rodriguez sends a long free kick to the team’s forwards in the opposing team’s half of the preseason home opener on Sept. 1, 2023. The match against Chatham University ended with a winning score of 3-0.
Provided by Christopher Rodriguez

Being an athlete while also in high school is a hard task for anyone. Learning to manage your time and work with a team is a big part of the job. These Daniel Pearl Magnet High School alumni managed to push through and continue their sports career through college. 

After playing volleyball throughout high school and college, alumnus Danetta Boykin got the opportunity to work as a professional volleyball coach overseas. (Photo provided by Danetta Boykin)

Danetta Boykin

When she first started playing volleyball, Danetta Boykin thoroughly enjoyed the sport. She loved to see how fast she excelled while having fun at the same time. Scholarships were always in the back of her mind while playing, which helped drive her to become a better player.

“Sports taught me lots of things like communication, time management, accountability and people skills,” Boykin said. “Sports teaches you to push through the hard times, as even the best still struggle. You have to remember you are human and humans make mistakes.”

In high school, Boykin was not only captain of the volleyball team but also prom queen, student body president and a part of the staff for The Pearl Post. Her jersey number was retired at Birmingham Community Charter High School (BCCHS) in 2011, where Boykin left behind a legacy in her high school years. She did not disappoint in college as at Pierce College she played Division 1 and won Woman of the Year. Boykin then transferred to California State University of Northridge (CSUN) where she got 1st-team all-conference and got the chance to train with the USA national team. She landed an opportunity to play overseas as a professional volleyball player and started working as a coach. After having a child during the start of the pandemic, she had to end her career as a coach. Now, she is pursuing her dream of becoming a police officer.

Christopher Mitchell Jr. is a DPMHS graduate of 2011 who achieved a lot on the Division 1 rugby team at California State University of Fresno. (Photo provided by Christopher Mitchell Jr.)

Christopher Mitchell Jr. 

In high school, Christopher Mitchell Jr. loved to run track. A graduate of 2011, Mitchell was a fast runner and wanted to earn a scholarship to afford attending California State University of Fresno (CSUF). After realizing that the funding for track had been cut at CSUF, he decided to switch to rugby based off of a friend’s recommendation.

“My friends and coaches were a big influence on who I am now,” Mitchell said. “They made me a better person and player. They influenced a lot of my personal change and growth. They also helped me figure out what I wanted to do with my life.”

After switching sports to rugby, Mitchell had to work hard to adjust to a new sport. Even though it was a big switch in sports, he kept the fundamentals of running track and applied them to rugby where he was one of the fastest on his team. On his team at Fresno State, he played Division 1 rugby where he also played on the All-Star team all five years he was there. He won multiple MVPS and got a 2nd place and two 3rd place finishes in the national championships. 

Now, he mentors kids in high school who need help with homework or want to know more information about college. He was inspired to do this job by his coaches in college who supported him.

Alexandra Pineda

Alexandra Pineda started playing soccer at the age of 11. She got into the sport because her stepdad really enjoyed it. She loved the sport because it kept her motivated and committed to whatever she did.

“Finding your voice is really important in sports and while working on a team, you find it,” said Pineda, who was on staff of The Pearl Post for three years. “In the workplace, having a voice is also very important. Sports also made me very comfortable with problem-solving and high stress environments.”

After graduating from DPMHS in 2015, she went to Mills College in Oakland for four years where she played Division 3 soccer. While there, Pineda won the Cyclone Award, for those that are most committed, and the Golden M Award, for accomplishing something in the face of adversity. Traveling was one of her favorite parts of her sports career as she got to visit states like Oregon, Washington, Arizona, Georgia, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. While there, Pineda got to explore the areas around her and ate lots of new foods. After graduating in 2019, she played soccer at an adult league as she still loved the sport.

Alumnus Hailey Pohevitz has played soccer since a very young age and uses her acquired teamwork skills in her new occupation as a police officer. (Photo provided by Hailey Pohevitz)

Hailey Pohevitz

As a 4-year-old, alumnus Hailey Pohevitz started playing soccer on her dad’s recommendation. Once she grew older, she realized sports were a great way to earn a scholarship and have long-lasting bonds with teammates. These bonds are what helped her through her time at California State University, Fullerton and University of Southern Mississippi.

“The best part about being on a team was the people who you are on the team with,” said Pohevitz, who was photo editor for both Prestige Yearbook and The Pearl Post. “There is no animosity in a team setting and the sense of sisterhood was amazing. When I was on a team I knew that we were going to work together and have fun.”

While at DPMHS, Pohevitz realized sports wasn’t all about winning. You can have fun with friends and also win at the same time. One of her favorite memories of playing soccer in college was where she got to visit during her time as an athlete. She got to go to other states like Texas and North Carolina but also got to go to Europe. These experiences helped shape who she is today as now she works for her local police department as a sheriff. All those skills of teamwork and communication transfer over to her new job. After playing soccer for many years, she also learned how to adapt quickly, which is another great skill to have as a police officer.

Christopher Rodriguez is a 2020 graduate of DPMHS and a Division 3 soccer player for Marietta College in Marietta, Ohio. (Photo provided by Christopher Rodriguez)

Christopher Rodriguez

Christopher Rodriguez is a 2020 graduate of DPMHS and a Division 3 soccer player for Marietta College in Marietta, Ohio. He played soccer throughout high school and learned a lot. 

“Soccer has helped me develop skills that I can transfer into the real world,” Rodriguez said. “It has taught me how to communicate with others, how to stay on top of things and to always try my best.”

Rodriguez got his associate’s degree in business from Moorpark College, where he also played soccer during his freshman and sophomore years. While at Moorpark, he earned second-team all-conference his freshman year, first-team all-conference and runner-up for defensive player of the year his sophomore year. Now, he is working on his bachelor’s degree in sports management and minor in coaching at Marietta College and will graduate in 2025. While at Marietta, he has made third-team all-conference and was a nominee for all-american and all-region. In the future, Rodriguez hopes to become a professional soccer player and will do whatever it takes to make it there. He hopes to one day represent his country in the World Cup or the Olympics.

Amelia Sanchez, a 2021 DPMHS graduate, is a passionate water polo player who plays Division 1 at Long Island University. This photo was from her sophomore year in high school. (Itzel Luna)

Amelia Sanchez

When growing up, Amelia Sanchez fell in love with water polo after seeing her older brothers play. She thought the physicality and competitiveness of the sport was fun and exciting. Her love for the sport only grew when she got accepted into Long Island University (LIU) to play Division 1 water polo.

“An enormous skill for student athletes is time management,” said Sanchez, who graduated high school in 2021. “When playing at the college level, you must balance school, sports and social life. This can be very challenging but after doing it for four years, I know it will benefit me wherever I go.”

In college, Sanchez found it very hard to manage her time and struggled for a little bit. Once she got into her groove, she was able to excel in water polo and academically as in 2022 and 2023, she was on the academic honor roll at LIU, from where she plans to graduate in 2025. Even in high school, Sanchez was very focused on academics as she wanted to excel in and out of the pool. 

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