Wildwood High School junior Cody Koelle wants to go to Hawaii. More specifically, Cody aims to play in the January 2020 Hawaii Tiki Bowl– a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity which Cody hopes will lead to a college scholarship.
The Hawaii Tiki Bowl is an invitation-only event connecting select high school players with college coaches and recruiters from around the country. For six days, players are immersed in a college-level athletic experience culminating with the bowl game.
For many players, the bowl game is a gateway to college football and a college degree. For all it is a capstone experience – playing the beloved game on a big stage, the stuff of great memories and lasting friendships.
Cody only started playing football his freshman year at Wildwood High School. In fact, Cody had never played organized sports before high school. “My brother played football, and he told me I would never last playing football,” Cody shared. “I started playing to prove him wrong.”
Cody’s football talent developed quickly. A lineman, Cody plays offense, defense and special teams. He now brings experience to the Wildwood High School team which many are hoping will help turn the tide for the gridiron Warriors.
After Cody received his invitation from the Tiki Bowl Selection Committee. “I started researching the event and watched YouTube videos about it,” Cody added, “Last year, I was invited to an ‘Elite 100’ camp; I started thinking maybe I can actually do something further with football.”
Cody sees the Tiki Bowl as an opportunity “to gain experience in being coached by college staff and have college recruits watching … and to learn more about the game itself.”
“I plan to pursue playing college football and I am interested in going into the film industry,” Cody said; “I am an editor of films, and I have won a few awards.”
Cody is hoping his football skill coupled with the Tiki Bowl opportunity will help him land a college scholarship. But first he has to get to Hawaii – an expensive proposition for most people, and beyond the reach of Cody and his family. Ideally, Cody would like to share the experience with his dad. To cover the travel and event expenses for them, Cody needs to come up with about $6,000.
Cody is employed by a local fast food restaurant, where he works about 20 hours per week during the school year. Even with more hours, the trip cost seems elusive.
Tiki Bowl officials encourage participants to seek sponsorships from local businesses and other fundraising activities. Cody welcomes support from the community, including contributions through a GoFundMe site: https://www.gofundme.com/hawaiian-tiki-bowl-game.
Written by Rachel Shubin.