In its history, DHS has cultivated a considerable amount of ambitious graduates who left behind their lives in Midland and went on to achieve great success. For Jalen Parmele, a 2004 graduate, this meant playing college football for the University of Toledo, which paved the road to his current position as a running back for the Arizona Cardinals.
Parmele has always been a football fanatic. His deep-rooted passion for the sport stems from the childhood memories he has of the electric CMU games he attended with his family to watch his oldest brother, Chris Parmele, play.
Jalen officially began playing football in the sixth grade. Once he reached high school, he started off on the freshman team. Jalen thrived on the team and secured a position on the varsity team by his sophomore year.
One may imagine that, as for any high school student, the constant attention from peers and colleges because of Jalen’s talent could have led to a toxic egocentricity. However, it is evident that Jalen has always remained humble and made the most out of his high school career.
“I had always been kind of quiet about things, never really talked much about football or what colleges were looking at me,” Jalen said. “It’s really a matter of, you know, being in the now and handling school and being with my friends-enjoying high school. Worry about the rest of the stuff when it happens. That was kind of my mind frame.”
In retrospect, playing football for DHS was an illuminating experience for Jalen.
“It taught me how to grow, if anything, as a player,” Jalen said. “Playing in the Saginaw Valley, you’re playing against a lot of talented players. My junior year, a Flint school had nine guys go Division I. So you’re playing against good talent, and you really adapt and develop as a player, mentally and physically.”
For students who are involved in athletics now or intend on continuing to participate in sports on the college level, Jalen offers some insight.
“The biggest thing is to stay focused,” Jalen said. “Stay focused on your goals, stay focused on what you want to accomplish. You can’t let influences distract you—I mean your friends, your family. It’s really about having that vision and going for it, and not getting sidetracked off of that vision. Just to go to a party and decide you want to have fun, it can end right there. All it takes is one arrest; all it takes is one bad situation where it can all come crashing down. So avoid situations like that and keep your vision in mind.”
To read more about Jalen Parmele and his career in the NFL, visit http://www.nfl.com/player/jalenparmele/2643/profile