This week’s Campus Celebrity is Trinity Alum Harry Melendez! Harry recently graduated this past fall semester and has already made so many strides toward a successful future. Recently he was featured on his local news for a new running club that he started, while also being known for his efforts in attending a regional NFL combine this weekend. You can read the article and see the newscast here. And you can watch his inspirational video, made for the running club here. We got a chance to talk to Harry this week, read on to learn more about this inspirational Trinity Alum!
Hometown: "The Paper City" Holyoke, MA
Major: Educational Studies (Urban Education Concentration)
Tell us about this running club that you've started - How What When Where Why?
“I’m Running for Holyoke”, focuses on community unity and improvement through individual improvement.
Here’s a little bit of the group’s history:
• Founded in the summer of 2011 by Harry Melendez as part of Harry’s bid for eligibility in the 2012 NFL Draft
• Conceived under the mantra of “Start Small, Dream BIG,” the group runs through the streets of the city of Holyoke; the runs are both part of Harry’s NFL training and of each group member’s individual quest for self and community improvement
• Comprised of Holyoke residents who are not only supporting Harry’s dream, but their own; the number of runners has approached 30
• Runs are anywhere between 2 and 3 miles
• Participants all proudly don purple and white, the colors of Holyoke High School. Harry Melendez articulates his vision as helping “Holyoke become more physically active as I try to get in the best shape of my life to pursue an NFL career and put Holyoke on the map. I’m running for Holyoke.” Harry also believes the group possesses the ability to show citizens of Holyoke that they can make a difference in “every step, jog, and run at a time.”
• As of February 8th, 2012 the group has run 8,349.8 Miles
In a city so stigmatized by the scourge of violence and poverty, I’m Running for Holyoke emanates the positive energy and fighting spirit that has defined Holyoke for centuries. With what these people have begun, Holyoke stands a chance to reclaim its place as one of the best cities in the nation.
How have you been training for the NFL combine?
I've been training at a training facility called Train For Life whose motto is "Life is Hard, Train Harder" The owner/trainer's name is Andrew McConnaha. I've been training 3x's per day, 3x's a week and at least 2x's per day, 5x's a week (taking weekends off) over the past 2 months. I've been doing cardio work on MW, Sprints on T Th, Strength Training on M-F and Field Work (position specific) on MThF.
What are the biggest influences in your life?
First and foremost, my mother. She sacrificed so much during my life to make sure that I possessed all I needed to succeed. Deion Sanders, which is why I play Cornerback. And lastly, the City of Holyoke. Holyoke helped shape me into the man I am today and for that I am thankful.
What is your favorite Trinity memory?
Beating Amherst for the NESCAC Championship on November 1, 2008. It was the last game my mother watched me play.
What were you involved with on campus?
During my time at Trinity I was involved in Best Buddies, mentored at the McDonough School, volunteered at the MiCasa Community Center and Burns Academy of Latino Studies, PA Announcer for the Men's and Women's Basketball Teams, worked in the Multicultural Affairs Office and Athletic Department and lastly, I played football.
If you could use one word to describe your time at Trinity what would it be?
What plans do you have for your future?
My experience as a Latino male at Trinity College has inspired me to share my experience with as many youths as possible. To make them realize that anything is possible in during their lifetime and the sky is the limit. If things do not work out with a professional football career, I plan to work at a New England prep school. I plan to teach or work in admissions, while coaching and earning my Masters. I also plan to continue to expand the "I'm Running for Holyoke" running group and continue to motivate residents in Holyoke to be more active physically and in the community.
What have been the biggest challenges after graduating from Trinity?
The biggest challenge after graduating from Trinity has been balancing my work with the I'm Running for Holyoke running group, volunteering at Holyoke High School after school and implementing its first Strength and Conditioning program, while chasing my dream of playing professional football.
What is your drink of choice?
99's Bubble Tea (But he secretly told me that he loves Coconut Ciroc!)
Any advice for Trinity students?
Make the best of every day and don't be satisfied with doing the expected. Leave your mark at Trinity and on the Greater Hartford area in hopes of making for a better Trinity experience for those who follow.
Image Sources: http://katiestebbins.wordpress.com/2012/02/15/258/