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HomeNewsNewark HS Football Player Overcame Bullying, Stepped Up For Family

Newark HS Football Player Overcame Bullying, Stepped Up For Family

NEWARK, NJ — A high school football player from Newark who overcame bullying and stepped up to care for his younger sister when their sibling was in the hospital on life support is up for a 2023 “Heart of a Giant Award.”

Ibrahim Cisse of Weequahic High School has been nominated for USA Football’s Heart of a Giant Award, presented by Hospital for Special Surgery and the New York Giants.

Coaches throughout New Jersey nominate student-athletes for the award, praising their “commitment, teamwork, will, character and dedication.”

Cisse has shown all these characteristics – and then some, according to award organizers.

When asked to elaborate on some of the obstacles he’s overcome, Cisse had the following reply:

“I came to the United States recovering from the Civil Wars at the age of eight years old a French-speaking country in West Africa, named Ivory Coast was still recovering from a Civil War I had to get used to a whole new way of life language, and culture went through bullying because I did not in middle school for not being able to properly read and speak English teachers would join by making for not being able to properly read and speak English teachers would join by making fun of me and making little jokes make jokes mostly I made fun of because I wouldn’t be a follower. make jokes to make other kids laugh to seem cool make jokes to make other kids laugh Mostly I made fun of because I wouldn’t be a follower!”

Cisse added that football has helped him to learn how to believe in himself – on and off the field.

“I consider myself fortunate and grateful to have a coach who shows genuine concern for his players outside of football and successfully juggling football, school, and family can be challenging because they are all equally important and interdependent; one cannot be prioritized over the other,” Cisse said.

These three life skills were recently put to the test when his 2-year-old brother was hospitalized for anemia for more than two weeks, and Cisse had to step up while his mother was at his brother’s side.

“I had to take care of my sister at home alone, find time for football school, and still be able to perform,” Cisse said.

The Newark youth’s supporters can vote online for Cisse as he faces off against other nominees until Oct. 29. Vote online here.

Cisse isn’t the only high school football standout in the area who has earned a nomination for the award this year. Other Essex County nominees for 2023 include Jake Gruzas of James Caldwell High School in West Caldwell, and Corey Woolridge of East Orange Campus High School.

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