Will Yeiser, Executive Director
Toward the end of February, the seventh grade boys had a chance to participate in a Zoom session with 2016 FBRA alumnus Michael Wilkerson. Michael is currently a freshman at San Diego University where he attends school and plays on the varsity soccer team. After graduating from FBRA, Michael attended Asheville High School and then moved to Atlanta in his junior year to join the Atlanta United FC Development Team.
Michael spent much of the time in the Zoom session discussing how FBRA helped him to move out of his comfort zone and into places where he could grow and learn. He said that in every interview that he has participated in over the last five years, he always tells the story of his cave experience during the sixth grade at FBRA. Since the first years of FBRA, the sixth graders have had the unique experience of spending a night in Worley’s Cave in Eastern Tennessee. Michael said that he was terrified to go into the cave but faced his fears and descended into the darkness with the rest of his classmates. He ended up having a great time, and has relied upon the confidence that he built from that overnight trip to help him to take advantage of other opportunities in the future. One of those opportunities came when he was recruited by the Atlanta United Development team. “It was scary for me to move to Atlanta, but I knew I’d be okay because I had learned to be out of my comfort zone.”
Michael believes that his experience at FBRA set him up for success in high school, both academically and socially. He found his ninth grade year at Asheville High to be pretty easy because he was used to managing his time and the high academic expectations at FBRA. “FBRA really set me up for success.” He also still plays the guitar and sings, and listens to rock music like Led Zeppelin that influenced him and his classmates while in middle school. And while FBRA can’t take all the credit for teaching Michael the secrets of mindfulness (his parents are avid practitioners), it certainly helped nurture a good habit that Michael still uses on a regular basis.
While “Zoom” college has been challenging for students all over the world, Michael has remained upbeat about the future and his prospects. We wish him the best of luck.