Mark Biehl is not the stereotypical high school student, stated an article in a local Sonora, Calif., newspaper. He's not a fan of the popular rock videos, saying the music videos of today are carnal and violent.
To counter, this 17-year-old from the Sonora 2nd Ward, Modesto California North Stake, used his video-production hobby to make a video detailing the effects such images have on children.
He submitted his work as a senior project, which soon drew national attention in the Wall Street Journal as an example of creativity and community service.
Mark's desire to improve the community stems from being reared in a service-oriented family. Each summer for the past seven years this family of four boys with their parents has invited 30-35 mentally disabled people to join them for four days of camping and boating. They prepare their food and teach their new-found friends how to swim, fish, hike and water ski.
"It's a lot of work, but well worth it when you see the happiness and joy on the faces of these campers," Mark said.
"I knew from the moment he was born that he was a very strong spirit," said his mother, Rhonda. "He is filled with determination," a quality demonstrated in his Church service in which he is first assistant in the priests quorum, and in academics and extra curricular activities such as jazz band, drum corps and football.
His position on the football team was questionable after his freshman and sophomore years. Despite all his efforts to play running back, Mark never played in a game. During his junior year he asked the coach for a chance to compete on the offensive line.
The coach, leery of his unimposing 165-pound size, was hesistant. "Coach, I know I can do it," Mark said.
Using his strength and quickness, he became part of a team that went 10-1 for the season. During his senior year, Mark earned the Captains Award, All League Offensive Right Guard honors and Most Outstanding Lineman.
"Who would have ever thought that Mark, little freshman football player, would end up being captain of the varsity football team," said the coach at the end of the season.
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