GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. -- At first glance, Moise Guerrier looks like any ordinary high school football player, but his life has been anything but ordinary. Born in Haiti, his birth parents dropped him off when he was six at an orphanage, where he would spend the next four years.
“Orphanage life was a bit different than what it would be here in the United States," Moise said. "We had school inside the orphanage. We didn’t go outside. Our meals were scheduled, and our activities were scheduled, so it was very different. We were punished for not being able to read and stuff like that.”
After an earthquake hit Haiti, Moise was brought to America by Humanitarian Parole and was put up for adoption. After his first placement didn't work out, he was put in the foster system where he was directed to Becca and Dennis Graham.
“When he was looking for a home and needed a home, we just felt our hearts immediately go out to him,” said Becca Graham. "Moise is just an incredible kid."
Moise faced many cultural challenges. He didn't speak the language nor understand our customs, but one thing about American culture did stand out for him: football.
“First time I saw it, I kind of fell in love with it," he said. "It was more the physicality of it. It was different from the sports I previously played. The scheming of it, the whole aspect of it was different."
Following Moise's junior season at Dow High School in Midland, Dennis talked to Moise about moving to the Grand Rapids area so he could take a job at Cornerstone University, which meant that Moise would have to transfer for his senior year. He landed at Forest Hills Central and began working out with the football team.
“He’s a hard worker and an intelligent kid," said head coach Tim Rogers. "He got here over the summer, and I said the only way you can’t get on the field is if you don’t know what you’re doing because physically you’re ready to go. But he got his nose in the playbook and worked really hard at learning our stuff, and now he’s capable of doing everything we have in our system.”
His hard work has paid off. Moise has scored three touchdowns so far for the 6-0 Rangers, and last week his hard work paid off in another way.
“I got an offer from Saginaw Valley State University, so that was very exciting to have," Moise said. "From the time I started playing football, I’ve always wanted to play at the next level, the college level. And to have that opportunity, I’m very blessed and grateful."
“He has a dream, and he keeps pushing towards it." Becca Graham said. "He’s motivated, and he doesn’t want anything to get in the way or distract him of accomplishing those dreams.”
“To think about where he was at the age of 6 to now, potentially being a college football player, I don’t know if I even have words to explain all of that. We’re so happy for him,” said Dennis Graham.
Moise won’t make a decision about his future until after the season ends because right now his focus is on keeping the Rangers undefeated.