J.F. Shields High School
In the letters that accompanied Michael Tempero’s nomination as a Young Hero, the writers repeatedly commented on the qualities of his character. Nominator Enoch Salter, a history teacher at J.F. Shields High School, wrote, “Before coming into the teaching field, I have never encountered a young person with so much courage, stability and patience.”
Teacher Sharrissa Cook said, “Michael is a young man with an exceptional personality and for Michael, failure or defeat is not an option—only motivation.”
Principal Marion McIntosh wrote, “If all the young men of the world were of Michael’s caliber, our future would certainly be in good hands.”
Like many others, Michael grew up in a family surviving on little income and, at times, no income. His teachers intervened when he was mocked and bullied for not having the financial resources of his classmates. Michael’s kindness to others masked struggles with domestic violence in his own home. “It was heartbreaking to hear that such a bright and kind student was going through that,” wrote Mr. Salter, “It was also surprising because Michael’s kind, disciplined and humble spirit remained the same.”
It was necessary for Michael to take on adult family responsibilities at a young age. In addition to his community and academic endeavors, he works weekends to help his family pay the bills. Despite these responsibilities, Michael maintains his grades and has earned much recognition for his performing excellence in all subjects. He is always on the A Honor Roll. He serves as the president of his class, as well as president of the Beta Club. Michael plays varsity basketball and belongs to many school organizations including the Spanish Club, Family Community Career Leadership America, and SADD (Students Against Drunk Driving.)
Among his many endeavors, Michael supports the community through volunteer work with the Red Cross and a local food bank. He serves as a volunteer tutor/mentor in his neighborhood. In fact, Michael has been honored with the Presidential Volunteer Service Award. He is an active member of his church. Mr. Salter wrote of him, “Michael is passionate about portraying humility, kindness and charity to others. He attributes these character traits to his strong faith and close relationship with God.”
Michael has expressed an interest in attending college to become a computer/electrical engineer. To this end, he was selected to attend the Nanoscience and Engineering Summer Internship at the University of Alabama the summer after his junior year of high school.