Balancing academics and athletics is admirable for any student athlete, but it isn’t often that the success continues outside of North’s hallways. Few reach out to participate in many clubs and sports, and even fewer excel in them all. Captain of the North football team, Malik Thompson, is not only a three-sport athlete, but also a member of Student Council, a devoted charity volunteer, and a coach for his younger brother’s youth football team, continuously proving his dedication and hard work in everything that he does.
Thompson has been playing football and basketball since he was five years old, but he didn’t start doing track until sophomore year. Still, like any athletic teenager, he has his favorite sport. “I always had a true passion and love for football,” Thompson said. This dedication to the sport is clear because it shows in how Thompson acts both under the lights and when in the school halls. “As aggressive as he is on the field, Malik is just as hard working in the classroom and seeks to be the best he can every day,” Senior CJ Markisz, a teammate of Thompson’s, said.
With a new coach, Arthur Stubbs, and also the team’s loss of players, there have been a lot of changes since Freshman year football. “We don’t have many kids but we are a strong family that plays as one,” Thompson said. The start of the season was inauspicious, starting out with two losses, but when North played their rival, South, Thompson led his team in a victorious win of 33-7.
Thompson has transformed as an athlete since his Freshman year on the field, beginning his high school football career as the quarterback. Sophomore year, he earned the spot as receiver and carried that experience to a “very successful junior year,” Markisz said. This year, Thompson is the starting quarterback again. “[Malik] can run, pass, and read the defense with ease,” Markisz said.
But his passions lie not only in athletics; when Thompson is not throwing complete passes or interceptions, he can be seen volunteering at the Trenton Area Soup kitchen. He also spends time at the Burlington Head Start Program, where he helps children ages three to five from low income families. The program specializes in health, educational, nutritional, and social issues that families have, maximizing the experiences of each child.
As if Thompson doesn’t give back to the community enough, he played on a Special Olympics soccer team for WW-P in 2014, with one of his football teammates, Senior Roland Anderson. “Malik works great with kids and really got into the games. I was able to see the kind and caring side of [Malik], and he’ll do great things in life with that trait,” Anderson said.
Overall, it’s been Thompson’s outgoing personality that’s helped him with all he does. According to Coach Stubbs, Thompson knows when it’s appropriate to have fun, and when it’s time to be serious. “He likes to joke around off the field, but when it’s time to strap up, he knows it’s all business,” Stubbs said. Along with his coach, most of Thompson’s team will agree that he has character and is always supportive of his teammates and friends. “Any time Malik and I step on the field, it’s exciting. He is always one of the first people to celebrate when the offensive or defensive line makes a play,” Anderson said.
Being a three-sport athlete, a participant in Student Council, and also a philanthropist at heart, Thompson values everything about his high school experience on and off the field. When asked what he would advise an underclassman athlete, his answer makes his values clear: “Enjoy every moment and take it all in.”