20 Jan
  • By zachbanner
  • Cause in

Sophomore Scholar Continues to Shine

In 2020, the B3 Foundation announced that it had committed to sponsoring the high school education of Da’Marion Tyler, a young student-athlete in Watts, CA. Two years later we check in on Tyler and share his powerful story.

Like too many children raised in South Central Los Angeles, Tyler encountered tragedy at a young age. His father’s life was cut short when he was shot and killed in 2012, leaving behind his 6 year old son Da’Marion and his mother Dominique. Determined to provide the best life possible for her son, Dominique set to work building a village around their small and resilient family. She enrolled Da’Marion in every sport she could find and every mentorship program and afterschool activity available in Watts. A longtime school staff member, she knew the value of education and set high expectations for her son.

“It takes a village to raise a child. I have always instilled in Da’Marion that people always want to see you do well, but never better than them. So you must always work hard for yourself and your family,” says Dominque Tyler.

In 2018, Banner met Tyler for the first time when he visited a summer practice of the Watts Rams, an LA-based youth football and mentorship program developed by officers of the LAPD. In the following year he would come to learn more about Tyler’s story and found himself moved by Dominique’s commitment to her son. Banner saw himself reflected in the pair, thinking back to his own mother who had done and sacrificed so much to help him reach his dreams. In 2020, Da’Marion wrote to Banner with a specific request. He had been accepted to Verbum Dei High School, a private, all-boys, college preparatory high school. It was an incredible opportunity for him to both continue his development as a football player while preparing himself for college – an achievement he’s set on being the first in his family to reach. The only roadblock? Tuition. And it was an obstacle Banner would be happy to remove. Tyler would become the B3 Foundation’s first-ever scholarship recipient with a four-year, $12,000 scholarship that covers tuition, books, and other school fees.

“Being a part of the B3 Family and receiving the scholarship to go to Verbum Dei is everything to me,” Tyler says. “I can’t thank Zach and Ms. Sarah enough for everything they have done for me and my mom.”

Now in 10th grade, Tyler prides himself on being a student first before any extracurricular activities are done. He earned a spot on the Principal’s List and has received the best grades of his academic career, maintaining a 3.6 GPA through his first one and a half years at Verbum Dei.

“Everywhere I go I am learning,” said Tyler. “In 2022 I want to earn student of the month for school as much as I can.”

Tyler thrived on the football field this year as well. The sophomore was moved up to the varsity team this fall and the running back played two games averaging 4.8 yards per carry. The Verbum Dei Eagles ended their football season 6-5.
When asked about what Da’Marion brings to his team, senior Semaj Harris emphasized how the Eagles will be left in good hands after this class graduates. “Da’marion is already a leader. He’s going to be left in charge and will step up even more and fulfill the job that needs to be done when we leave.”
This month Tyler will begin his paid-intership program, a feature component of Verbum Dei’s college preperatory curriculum for all students. He is also serving as the current manager of the men’s basketball team, and hopes to compete in track & field this spring.


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