|Friday, May 5
Student Athlete of the Week
By Joe Farrell
Paul Cervenka - Bishop Dunne High (Dallas, Tex.)
School year: Senior
As a small forward for the Bishop Dunne High (Dallas, Texas) boys' basketball team, Paul Cervenka is humble about his contributions on the court. "I wasn't a big scorer," says Cervenka. " I was more of a defender. I'd chip in here and there."
However, it's what Cervenka does off the hardwood that cannot be understated. As a volunteer at Bryan's House, Cervenka does his part in helping children with HIV and AIDS enjoy their lives.
"We mainly hang out with the kids and spend time with them," says Cervenka. "I never think about it until a nurse comes around and gives them medicine. When I sit and think about it, it is heartbreaking. Their illness is always in the back of my mind, but I try not to think about that."
Before he actually met a child with the illness first hand, Cervenka admits to having reservations about joining Bryan's House.
"I thought at first I would have a problem playing with kids that have HIV," says Cervenka. "Playing with them, you wouldn't even know they were sick. That broke another stereotype for me right there."
Cervenka also participates in a program called Teens Uniting Catholic Schools. The goal of the program is to break the typecasting that occurs between students who attend different schools by introducing them to one another. With functions such as dances, the student-run program has been making a difference.
"There were a lot of stereotypes," says Cervenka. "Like saying the [students] in North Dallas were all rich. They had their own ideas about us, too. Once I got to know them, it changed my perception."