Eric Monjue Foiryolo – It’s All in a Name


Eric Friyolo enjoys going out with friends to Mt. Lemmon

Nathalia Valdez, Associate Editor-In-Cheif

“My name is Eric Foiryolo and I have been in this country for 6 years.” Eric, a junior, is originally from a small village in Liberia called Montserrado. When Eric first came to America, he got to pick his own name. “I think the name Eric is an easy name to pronounce,” he says with a mouth full of Ramen noodles. Monjue, his middle name, means carrier of peace and his last name means the morning sun.

Eric 6 years ago.

Eric loves to participate in sports.  He has played volleyball, run for cross country, played soccer, and plans on doing track. In middle school Eric played volleyball at Secrist. “Seventh and eighth grade we won championships back to back,” he boasts. Eric was the best 8th grade boy on the team and was known for his  “celebratory backflips” after winning a game. “This year was my first year doing cross country. I love cross country because of the way it made me feel, I’ve never had such team mates. The motivation that these people have to come to practice, knowing that it’s going to be a long day and that we’re going to run a lot, really changed my perspective. I use to see things only my way, but cross country has really opened me up. Not to mention the coaches are some of the nicest people I’ve ever meet. Coaches Handshoe, Pam, and Rutherford are some of the most interesting people I’ve met yet, they always make me feel welcome,” reminisces Eric. “I’ve played soccer since middle school.” Eric is in varsity soccer and plans to keep it that way, his position is mid-field. “The guys are all funny. I feel like each and every one of them has their own special talent.  Every one of them is like a puzzle piece, if one is missing we’re incomplete.”

Eric at the Pier with 2 of his Cross Country teammates

Eric believes that Mr. Holbrook, his math teacher, has always helped him. “He always writes things down and explains things to me. He is the wisest person I’ve ever met, in other words he is the Jirayah to my Naruto,” Mr. Holbrook even bought him a microwave so that Erik could enjoy warm meals. “Lane and Bertoglio try their hardest as well, because of them I can carry a good conversation in Spanish,” Eric continues. Originally he chose Spanish because he liked how it sounded. He is also appreciative of Becky, sports med teacher, because she is always there for him and helps everyone with their injuries. Eric’s dream is to be “Hokage” also known as leader of the village hidden in the leaves. But he will hopefully be attending medical school first.

Sadly, many of Eric’s family members have passed, but he hasn’t gone to visit those who are left since came to America. Eric’s mother joined the military in 2008, which allowed them access into the United States. “I feel like I have nothing left at home, at times I feel like my friends and family have branched out and we have different experiences and different points of view on life.” One of the things that Eric struggled with the most was, in his opinion, adjusting to the different ways of living. For example making eye contact with elders is a sign of disrespect in Liberia, but here in the United States it is polite to do so. Talking in class is disrespectful in Liberia, but here we are encouraged to talk. “I often feel guilty when I talk in class,” Eric says seriously.

Eric is very thankful for everything he has. “I would walk a good hour to school every morning in the rain; during the rainy season I’d sit in class with a wet uniform for eight hours.  During recess, I didn’t have food or money so I’d just sit there until class ended, then go home and eat about 4 spoonfuls of rice and a couple potatoes then repeat. The rainy season is six months long and if you’re late to school you get beat every time. I was always late due to insufficient shower water in the bucket.” Eric has noticed that a  lot of people here take education, food, or even their family for granted. “There is not an hour that goes by that I am not grateful for even the socks on my feet because I know everything is temporary and if we are grateful for what we have now, we won’t regret or worry about what we don’t have.” In his backpack Eric always carries a fork, a spoon, cheesecake, and Ramen. “You never know when you’re going to need these things,” he laughs.