Mj’s Many Talents


Larissa Pothoven, Editor

Although Mj Stern is known for his athletic accomplishments, he also enjoys art and music.  Besides competing on Rock Island High School’s football and tennis teams, Stern plays trumpet and piano, as well as being involved with woodworking, glass bead making, and oil painting. 


Stern has been playing football and tennis for around twelve years.  He plays the position of linebacker for football, and is on the singles and doubles team for tennis.  He was captain of the tennis team his junior year, and is the football captain this year. “

Being a team captain is a big responsibility, but I am honored to have it, and I try to do my job the best that I can

— Mj Stern

,” stated Stern.  In addition, he played basketball for about ten years, up until his sophomore year. As Ryan Nickel, one of Stern’s close friends, pointed out, “Mj has always been pretty athletic. When he was very young, he took tae kwon do (which interestingly was how I met him for the first time, when we sparred against each other in a tournament).”  Stern explained, “I got involved with all of my sports when I was younger because my parents signed me up for them, and I learned to love them.” Although Stern plays a variety of sports, he enjoys different aspects of all of them. “Football- I love the rush and feel of getting a good tackle, and I also love the extremely close bond our team has.  Tennis is a super fun sport that I enjoy playing. Basketball- I loved my teammates,” Stern explained.


Stern’s skills are not limited to sports; he also enjoys playing musical instruments.  Stern began playing piano at the age of four. He later played trumpet from sixth grade through his sophomore year, participating in jazz band at Edison Jr. High.  Freshman year, he was a member of the Pride of Rock Island Marching Band before moving on to focus more on football. “I love trumpet and piano because of the truly beautiful songs you can play,” stated Stern.


Besides athletics and music, Stern is also actively engaged in the arts.  Stern enjoys oil painting, woodworking, and making glass beads. Stern stated, “Painting-  I learned through my mother, and woodworking and glass bead making I learned from YouTube videos.”  Stern has made dishes and other household objects with his woodworking skills. Stern noted that, “Woodworking can either go really well or really bad. There’s not much in between. Same with glass beads.”  However, “Woodworking is very relaxing and rewarding once the product is finished,” Stern described.


Nickel noted, “Mj uses his talents to help himself, as most people do. He is very resourceful, and knows how to get people to recognize his skills.”  Mj is currently enrolled in the CNA program. Stern plans on going to college and would like to one day be an orthopedic surgeon. As for using his talents in the future, Stern explained, “I plan to use my skills with my hands, dealing with intricate details when I perform surgery.”  Stern breaks the stereotypes of a typical athlete, involving himself in music and the arts, in addition to his athletic activities.