Monday was the fourth annual College Signing Night at Dinuba High School, an event implemented by current DHS Principal Michael Roberts.
“It was something we did when I was in Fowler,” said Roberts. “And I thought it would be good idea for us to do it here.”
Roberts, a 1995 graduate of Dinuba High School, said he started the event when he took the principal position back in 2015. The event, he said, celebrates the students and their parents as they enter into a new chapter.
“It’s a big day for the students,” Roberts said. “But it may be an even bigger day for the parents, as they get to see their work pay off too.”
At every College Signing Night, Roberts has invited a Dinuba High grad to be the keynote speaker. To date, there have been three doctors giving the keynote address, Roberts included. This year’s keynote speaker, however, though not a doctor, will go down as one of the biggest names to come out of Dinuba High School – Marcus McMaryion.
McMaryion, the Emperor’s and, most recently, Fresno State’s star quarterback was just coming off a training-workout with the Oakland Raiders when he returned to his alma mater to speak at the event.
“I’m always going to be that kid from Dinuba,” McMaryion told the Class of 2019.
He told those in attendance of his journey through college, and how he found himself discontent at Oregon State University – to the point he called his parents in tears. He spoke of how his journey back home, and to Fresno State, gave him a new outlook on life and greater opportunity.
Admittedly contrast to who he generally is, McMaryion’s right hand was adorned with championship rings. But he did so to tell a story and remind himself of his journey.
“When I see them, it reminds me of the journey I’ve been through…,” he said. “I’ve been through highs and lows. I’ve been through it all… I think of my teammates and everything leading up to it.”
After finding himself out of sorts in Corvallis, McMaryion found himself at a crossroad. He said he had let his family down, that he let all of Dinuba down. But the rings he now sports he said came only after he returned home to become the starting quarterback for Fresno State. Doing so made him the most winningest quarterback in Fresno State history.
“I always give Derek (Carr) a hard time because I have more wins than him,” he said to a reaction of laughter and cheers.
But true to himself, McMaryion took the time to thank
those who put him in the position to win, including his family, who was also in attendance with him. He also thanked the Rivera family as he spotted them in the audience.
“Thank you guys for everything you’ve done,” he told the Riveras, explaining how he would often walk through the front door without knocking.
One of the things McMaryion credited for his success has been the idea of what he called ‘intentional living’. He said it’s the reason he was able to do well academically throughout college and still be involved in his community.
“People have asked me how I can do it,” said McMaryion. “And the answer is that I enjoy it. “
He encouraged the seniors in attendance to live a life with intention and to have a ‘proactive life’ rather than a ‘reactive life’. He explained that he gets up at 5 a.m. every morning so he can have an edge on the day and have his day planned out.
He further encouraged the seniors to keep in mind the company they keep when they go off to college. “I’m not saying that your friends change you,” said McMaryion. “But they do nudge you.”
He said he takes pride in surrounding himself with people who are better than him, and trusts those friends to hold him to a higher accountability. One of those friends is Oakland Raider quarterback Derek Carr, who McMaryion said has pushed him in what it is to be a professional.
McMaryion said he also has a new-found respect for reading and encouraged others to tap into the valuable resource of written material.
One of the things he read was something that changed his perspective on life.
“I came across a saying that said, ‘We’ll be successful in life when we realize that things don’t happen to you, things happen for you’,” said McMaryion.
He added that going through his tribulations at Oregon State gave him a greater appreciation for his success at Fresno State. And as for how that training-workout went for the Raiders, McMaryion said it went well and that Oakland Raiders coach John Gruden told him, “I hope we give you a call in the next couple of week.”
After his address, 64 seniors signed their commitments to various colleges throughout the states, each now on the verge of making a name for themselves. The seniors and their families were all treated to a dinner to celebrate the milestone.
At the event, each student’s name, along with the college they will be attending, was announced as they signed commitments with family on hand. Prior to signing, those in attendance heard a special video message from former First Lady Michelle Obama.
Some of the students, however, got to see her speak first hand as a group from Dinuba High School traveled to UCLA last week to attend the National College Signing Day event. The First Lady was the keynote speaker.
Roberts, who will be taking a principal position in Calabasas next year as his wife enters a doctorate program at UCLA, said the event will continue to highlight the achievements of both present and past Emperors in the coming years.