Etobicoke - Franz Morales started in the Business Marketing Program at Humber College in 2017, immediately registering as a participant in the Intramural Volleyball League and attending tryouts for the Extramural Co-Rec Volleyball Team, to which he was selected. At the time, he was unaware that much of his first academic semester would be disrupted by a college staff strike, and that volleyball would become his main outlet for stress relieve and engagement with other students.
“I remember my classes being impacted by the college staff strike in my first year, but recreational programs were still going on, so I had something to look forward to every week, whether it was practices, games or tournaments. My mental health greatly improved because of this,” he recalls. After his first year of play, Morales was named the team’s Most Valuable Player at the annual spring banquet.
In his second year of playing volleyball at Humber, Morales continued to build his fundamental volleyball skills and relationships with teammates and coaches, also continuing to improve his mental and physical health. “My sense of belonging to the college improved by joining the volleyball team because I was able to meet a lot of great people and had great experiences,” he recalls. The team participated in six Ontario Collegiate Recreation events across the province, winning the final event of the year at Seneca College.
Also during this academic year, Morales had a unique opportunity to participate in the Canadian National Unity Games, hosted by the Church of Christ, as a member of the Eastern Canada Volleyball Team. As champions of this tournament, Morales and his teammates qualified to participate in the Intercontinental Unity Games in San Francisco, California, held to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of their house of worship being established in Western North America. The Canadian team was successful in defeating all of their opponents, and brought home the championship.
Morales graduated with a Business Marketing Diploma in 2018, and continued to stay connected to the recreation program, the fitness centre, and with a number of his teammates. He was hired as an Assistant Coach with the Extramural Volleyball Program in 2019, hoping to provide other student athletes with the leadership and guidance that he was afforded during his playing career.
Under the leadership of Morales, and the Head Coach Joshua Pascual, the team played in five of their scheduled six events last season. The team finished in second place in three of those events, and was hoping to bring home the tournament championship at the final event but due to COVID-19, the season was cut short and the final tournament was not able to be played.
Morales takes pride in having been able to represent Humber in three different contexts during his time at Humber, and being able to support others students as they grow and reach their full potential. His advice to new students is to embrace every opportunity that is available and to get involved in programs on campus.
Since leaving Humber, Morales continues to play recreational volleyball and has played in a tournament as far away as California. He hopes to continue growing as a coach and as an official, opening up additional avenues to pursue a potential career in the field. He was offered a chance to teach and officiate volleyball in the United States, although he has yet to do so at this time. Morales currently lives in Toronto and hopes to continue to be involved in the Humber volleyball programs for years to come.