Celebrating Our 2021 DBG Seniors – Congratulations, Jonathan!

The largest group of DBG seniors we’ve seen in years is set to graduate. We are so proud of these amazing students and our team who worked hard and got the job done despite the challenges of COVID-19. This is part of a series Celebrating our 2021 DBG Seniors.

Jonathan, a senior at Western International High School, first found a home at DBG in 2015. Today, he has big plans to fight hard – not in a boxing ring – but as a future criminal justice attorney. He’ll be attending U of D Mercy and majoring in pre-law.

“Because of the way you need to learn to manage your time between your homework and your training, this [work ethic] I’ve learned at DBG has translated into everything else in my life,” he says. 

During his time in the program, Jonathan was motivated to stay on top of his schoolwork. He did that and then some, working a job outside of school on top of completing chores, workouts and homework.

Jonathan is grateful for the role models he’s met at DBG, including Coach Tamika, who was there to encourage him when he needed it most. And Coach Khali who made a lasting impression on him.

“There are a lot of people that want to bring you down – but you have to let them,” Jonathan says. “It’s a personal responsibility that Khali drilled into us – that we have to take control over our own lives.”

Jonathan looks forward to a future in law. He wants to help transform the criminal justice system, aiming to correct inequities in the current system.

“I want to be a criminal justice lawyer because I think the system needs to be reformed,” he says. “The system we have in America is broken.”

His desire to make a positive difference and impact the world around him reflects the true heart of DBG.

“When I first started at DBG,  Khali always told us that was the main purpose of opening the gym – to make a positive difference. He really tried to set us up so we could all be successful, so we don’t repeat the cycle that’s been going on for decades.”

Through it all, Jonathan and all of our seniors are completing their secondary education in the midst of COVID-19. Jonathan notes the missed milestones such as prom and a picturesque cap-and-gown graduation. At the same time, he is grateful to have DBG by his side to complete a most unusual senior year. 

Congratulations Jonathan, and the entire DBG Class of 2021! You did it! We know this is just the start of a big things to come.


Good Morning America Fans!

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To honor Khali, DBG, and our impact, the KLA Foundation and Art VanElslander Foundation are generously matching $120,000 in donations to DBG.

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