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Highland High community remembers former hawk Marquis Cooper

Gold celebrating the best of GPS!

 A photo of the Cooper and Larson families with the Hawk players on the Highland track.On Friday, October 21, hundreds of students, families, staff and community members paused for a moment during the Friday night football game at Highland High to pay tribute to the late Marquis Cooper. The 6th Annual Marquis Cooper Memorial Night honored the former Highland Hawk, who was tragically lost at sea following a boating accident in 2009. During his years at Highland, Cooper was a student-athlete, representing the school in football, basketball and track. He would later go on to play in the NFL. Former Highland teammates, classmates, teachers and loved ones remember him most for his smile, kindness and caring heart. 

As a way of honoring his legacy, a scholarship is given every year in Cooper’s name to Highland football players who exemplify the same characteristics. Two Highland football players were awarded this year. Both are team captains, members of the Hawk Football Leadership Council and avid community volunteers. Joseph Allen, a three-year starter, was chosen for the kindness that he shows to those around him. Makua Pule, a four-year starter, was selected because of his smile and the pure joy that he brings to the school, football field and his community. The scholarships were presented by former Hawk player and retired NFL quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick.

Highland High Athletic Director Brandon Larson, a former teammate and childhood friend of Marquis Cooper, organizes the memorial night with the Cooper family every year. Larson and his family experienced a similar tragedy when their son, Bohdie, passed away following a car crash in October 2019. The Larsons started the Fallen Angel Project, a non-profit organization that helps provide financial support and resources to families who’ve lost a son or daughter before adulthood. In honor of Bohdie’s love for sports and adventures, the Fallen Angel Project also develops opportunities for youth in the community. The Fallen Angel Project is currently accepting donations for its 2022 Balls and Dolls Drive. The toys will be donated to local charities over the holiday season. 

The support of the Highland community has been instrumental in helping both families cope and move forward with a positive outlook. The Coopers and Larsons hope to keep combining efforts to keep this event going for years to come. 

To learn more about Highland High School and the surrounding community,  schedule a school tour today!

By Kailey Latham, Photo: Donna Mundy Photography