KENTWOOD, Mich. (WOOD) — When asked who should be the student of the week for Football Frenzy’s visit to East Kentwood High School, administrators knew that Michael Ostuno would be an excellent choice.
He has a 4.0 GPA and is an accomplished athlete, but his track and field coach Dave Emeott says that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
“He’s just a great person. He cares about people. When he talks to you, he really cares about what you’re saying. He’s just a tremendous individual and you could walk these halls and find dozens of people who would say the same,” Emeott said.
Talking to Ostuno, it’s easy to see his charisma, kindness and humility.
“I just do what I do, I don’t feel any sort of special way about it. I’m just living life and doing the best in every area I can,” he said.
He dreams of making a difference for people who feel they have nothing left.
“I want to give power to those people who don’t have power or who don’t feel like they have power,” he explained.
He has had times in his life where he has felt that way.
“We have a family member who struggles with involvement from the police … in the past and legal troubles with my family,” he said.
Maybe that’s part of what makes him perceptive to others who might be dealing with their own struggles.
“I just want them to know that wherever they’re at in life, no matter how deep down in a hole they feel, there’s always a ladder to climb up and you’re the only one who holds that ladder,” he said. “No one else can give it to you. They can make it more accessible, but you yourself have to climb up it and you have it in you to do that.”
Those words seem wiser than Ostuno’s 18 years. Emeott has seen their impact throughout the school. He thinks Ostuno is the type of person not only who has a heart to affect big change, but also the ability.
Maya Angelou said, “People won’t remember what you said or did, they will remember how you made them feel.” Emeott believes Ostuno makes people feel empowered.
“How many lives does a kid like Michael Ostuno change in a day? Probably far more than I do, which is what it’s all about,” he said.