NFL Player and FHC Alum Pierre Desir Donates $185,000 for Fitness Center

Posted on 07/29/2019
Pierre Desir with FHC students

On March 14, 2019, FHC alum and NFL player Pierre Desir signed a three-year contract extension with the Indianapolis Colts. Within days of the signing, the former Spartan was in contact with FHC because he wanted to give back to the school that “gave him so much.” He is generously donating $185,000 and has asked that it be used to transform the FHC fitness center and benefit an entirely new generation of students.

Desir was born in Haiti and immigrated to America with his family when he was only four years old. While at FHC, Desir was a star on the football team and named an all-state defensive back. After high school, he went on to play football for Washburn and Lindenwood University. He worked hard both on and off the field, and eventually his perseverance and talent led him to be drafted by the Cleveland Browns in 2014. Coming from a small college, Desir overcame the long odds of playing professional football, and is now living out his dream.

Pierre Desir with FHC football playerWhile Desir has a lot to celebrate, one of his first thoughts after signing his new contract was how he could give back. “I learned so much throughout my years in high school,” said Desir. “I wanted to show my appreciation for what they have done for me throughout my career and when I was in school.”

The donation will allow FHC to build a state-of-the-art fitness center and weight room that can be used by all students. It will provide more space and professional equipment for athletes to train for sports, but also for students to utilize during physical education classes. “My hope for the fitness room is to allow kids to come into an environment where they’re proud of,” said Desir. “More kids will be able to come in and be active with all of the new equipment.”

With big changes coming to the FHC facility, the school community is excited and grateful to Pierre for his generosity. “I am so thankful to him to be the person that he is and to have the desire to do all of that,” said FHC Principal Dr. Sonny Arnel. “It’s gratifying for everyone in the Francis Howell School District that we can inspire a kid like that.” Not only will FHC benefit from the donation, but other schools will as well. The equipment from the old FHC weight room will be passed down to Saeger and Hollenbeck to be used by middle school students.

Pierre Desir with FHC basketball player“It’s just very moving to see somebody so generous who wants to give back and help others,” said FHC Activities Director Scott Harris. “He genuinely cares for these kids.” Harris shared how Desir comes back to campus often and talks with students. He attends basketball games and occasionally works out in the FHC fitness center. “It’s cool how we have a person from our high school who is represented in the NFL and is still coming back, getting to know us, and getting to inspire us even though we are just high school kids,” said FHC junior Sophie Delaney.

Desir’s work ethic and generosity are great examples for the students at FHC, and he is someone that they can look up to as a professional football player and also as a fellow Spartan. “It’s exciting for him to be on the national stage and to get his spotlight,” said Harris. “But I like showing the example of him not giving up.” It is important for students to dream big, and Desir has shown them the results of hard work and passion.

Now, Desir can give back and help other Spartans work towards their own goals and ambitions. “I am just blown away by him,” said FHC sophomore Kennedy Jensen. “He is changing lives for everyone at Central because we get to better ourselves. I am very thankful for him.”

As FHC begins work on the new fitness center, they are also focusing on the branding of the space. The school is dedicating a wall to Pierre as a thank you for his generosity and support. The wall is a perfect way to honor their successful alum and to foster a sense of pride as well. It will also serve as a reminder for students – a reminder that they can go as far as their talent and drive will take them, and still remember where it all started.

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