Senior Inspiration: Tanyi Besong

"I like to stay humble and grounded"-Tanyi Besong, 2017

June 5, 2017

Optimistic and goal-oriented would be an understatement when it comes to describing Tanyi Besong. The senior at AVHS, has found ways to defeat the odds while keeping his mind positive. The wrestler, lacrosse, and football player has become a student leader that has inspired many throughout his years in high school by keeping his mindset in the right direction! 

Tanyi grew up in the suburbs of San Diego, CA but when his mom got a job position as a social worker, Apple Valley,MN became his new home. “My aunt lived in Apple Valley so it was right place to settle because they’re (his mom and his aunt) pretty close,” says Tanyi. In fact, they lived right next door!

His brother Joey on the right, his dad in the middle

Family has always been an important aspect in his life, but things weren’t always easy. “I grew up without a dad a lot. It was just my mom brother, and I.” At the age of 13,  Tanyi’s father departed the U.S. to teach English in Japan.

His older brother Joey became one of his bigger influences by guiding him to value sportsmanship and academics. “My brother taught me a lot, he became the father figure I needed because spending time with him often left me to witness his drive to succeed in school.” But aside from sports, his mom took great care to the family. “She worked 3 jobs when I was growing up and her compassion gave me an insight on how to treat others.” Tanyi has always made sure to keep an open mind when meeting people and remain humble of his accomplishments.  

Tanyi with Joey and his mom


Tanyi’s athletic talent came at a very young age. His time in Echo Park Elementary school brought out his enjoyment of sports.“I started playing soccer when I was in Kindergarten and football in first grade along with basketball, baseball, and track.” His transition to middle school gave him a closer insight on the three sports he captains today: Wrestling, Lacrosse, and Football. On his story on how he chose his top 3 to partake in, “I’ve been doing football my whole life, but wrestling and lacrosse were brought up to me later.” Many of his friends suggested lacrosse would be something he could look into after his departure from baseball. While wrestling was a turn he took from his brother who was an alum of the team that graduated in 2011. “I really wanted to follow in his footsteps!” exclaimed Tanyi. “I heard AVHS had a good program so I took the chance and when the coaches brought me in that was the start of it all!”

Tri-sport captain photo

When it hits the books, Tanyi Besong has never failed to give 110% in his academics. By receiving an Eagle Excellence award his junior year and Academic All-State for wrestling and football, he’s proved that the only thing standing in the way of true success is in the mindset. There is a method in his maintnance of a 3.5 GPA. “There have been times where I’ve felt overwhelmed but my way to combat it would be to keep communicating with my teachers. They will make accommodations to when the assignment can be due.” To maintenance, teachers are very important on the shaping of students as well as the success.

Tanyi working in class

Laura Moy, Tanyi Besong’s 9th grade AVID Teacher says, “From the beginning he stood out me as a leader.” In regards to his behavior as a student, Moy was fascinated over his maturity in the classroom. “He’s so well-rounded and even though he was a freshman, he always knew who he was.” Moy continued, “Some students had to learn about respect in high school but when it came to him (Tanyi) I just worked with him on his classwork rather than personal growth, I’m sure he’s touched many lives with how respectful he is.”

Though Laura Moy’s not the only teacher there are some that have inspired Tanyi Besong. “There are many but at the top of my head: Mr. Robert Helgeson, Mrs. Tzeitel Voss, Mr. Dalen Wasmund, and Mr. Jamal Tidwell.” His reasons all conclude to their positive influences on him that he finds worth giving a shout out.

Along with positive influences his friends have been a big source of his fun times. “I don’t have a best friend, I like keeping an open mind to all so I have a lot.” His friends come from all aspects of his life. “I have friends in every sport I play. Some of my football friends are: Shane Sande, Osmund Ali, Kellan Mckeag, Riley Hanson, Ethan Yang. As for wrestling: Gable Steveson, Jalen Thul, Kyle Rathman, Tyler Kim, Carlos Jimenez. For lacrosse: Jason Anozie, Jonathan Dekraker, Jake Schmid, Ian Bender, Nate Seleshi and many others.”

Tanyi with a few of his many close companions in wrestling and football


Nate Seleshi a senior at AVHS talks about the fun times hanging out with Tanyi. “We’ll  play video games, go to the movies and have UFC fight nights at Buffalo Wild Wings.” What tops Nate’s moments with him are milestones, “The best memories either have to be when he took me to a casino for my 18th birthday or this project we had to do in physics about Rube Goldberg that took 5 hours to finish,” laughs Nate, “There was lots of sweating and crying over failed sessions.” When talking about how they became close friends, Nate had no hesitation to reveal about what made Tanyi stand out to him. “Just thinking about how he has to balance the activities that he’s in. He’s a 3-sport captain that keeps his grades up so he’s a pretty busy guy. If I was any other kid I’d definitely look up to him.”

Tanyi’s daily routine includes physical activity and mental preparation. “On a busy day what I would get up at 4:30 to start a swimming workout at 5:15 at VMS, it usually lasts for about 1 hr and 30 minutes. Then I come home to wash up and do a little bit of homework before heading off to school.” AVHS starts from 7:30 and ends at 2:20 but those hours do not make an end to Tanyi’s work-hard lifestyle. “After school I have practice (sport) at 3:00 that would last to about 6:00. I would shower for 30 minutes and head home at 7:00 to try to get homework done. After a while I would just sleep from there.” Tanyi admits sometimes he would skip morning workouts in favor of just practice after school from exhaustion.

Wrestling photo

What motivates him is his role as captain in his sport teams,self-improvement, and critics. “When I’m working for the team it reminds me that not only am I doing this for myself, I’m doing it for people I care about. As for myself I just want to prove I can do something. The critics are always doubtful to hard work ethic so I use that to drive as an aspect.” Even with the strongest willpower, energy is needed to do tasks. Tanyi explains his secret to keeping his body active willingly. “I try to get as much sleep as I possibly can and keep a well-balanced diet. I eat eggs in the morning and have a lot of protein and grains.”

Though Tanyi may be ‘a never stop improving person’ there are aspects of which he has taken great lengths to value about himself. “I’m proud of my drive, I push myself constantly and it’s apart of who I am.” The secret to Tanyi’s social life is being open-minded. “I’ve learned to be open-minded rather than closed because when you’re closed you negatively shut doors. I want to try and meet all different kinds of people as much as I can. I want to be the kind of person that people can talk to.” Not only has Tanyi has kept an open mind about people, he’s kept an open door to a different forms of entertainment.

Don’t mistake Tanyi Besong as only a competitive student athlete, there’s more that meets the eye. “The biggest 2 things that people don’t know about me aside from my friends is that I watch anime and I like to dance.” Tanyi prides himself on being an open book when it comes to sharing about his life. “Playing video games would be on the list of my hobbies.”

As a senior graduating this summer, Tanyi is heading to Notre Dame College of Ohio by next fall. But nothing can stand in the way of his fondest memories at AVHS. “I have a few but winning the state championship for wrestling, always brings me back especially going to the hotel to celebrate with the team. The crowd cheering and accepting the metals was an exhilarating experience.” Tanyi spent his years in high school to the fullest living adventures with his friends. “This spring break I went to Jamaica with ten of my close friends from various sports. We had free food and free drinks so it was epic.” Though Tanyi may be a social butterfly, he often keeps in touch with himself, specifically his faith.  


“I look to god a lot and one thing I cherish the most is that he’ll always be there for me so I keep my faith close my heart.” Tanyi has revealed his faith plays a part on how he stays grounded within himself.  

Tanyi’s wisdom to underclassmen includes learning do assignments regularly and pushing oneself out of comfort zones, “I started high school not knowing what I wanted, I never knew I would end up taking multiple AP and honors classes.” He admits school hasn’t always been easy. “I just put my mind to it and worked on homework. It’s all about trying harder.” It doesn’t matter what you don’t know, as Tanyi explains it’s about what you plan to do to change it that does.

A photo of Tanyi and I on the last day of school for seniors

Tanyi Besong has proved that nothing is really impossible if you make effort to chase your goals. That’s what makes him worthy of being a senior inspiration. His optimism has touched many and his self-motivation is definitely something to model after. Tanyi Besong defines the right direction when he repeats his motto “Never push someone out because their different, keep an open-mind,” touching the lives of many students at AVHS.

Fun Facts

  • He won MVP Defensive player his freshman year for lacrosse
  • In his junior year he got Most Improved for Lacrosse and wrestling
  • In Elementary school he used to be enrolled in special reading classes partially due to his ADD . In return he took ADD and ADHD medications to compensate.
  • Middle school was a rough time for him so he made his freshman year of high school worth it and full of improvement.
  • He went to Falcon Ridge Middle School  
  • Tanyi admits he took choir because it out of his element (sports and academics) and though he doesn’t consider himself that ‘good’ he’s so glad he took throughout his high school experience.
  • He received an Eagle Excellence his senior year


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