Proud mom of West Alum


Destinee Goodman

Mrs. Lupe Silatolu holding a picture of the moment Amini got the call he was drafted into the NFL.

Destinee Goodman, Staff Reporter

This is a glimpse into the life of Mrs. Lupe Silatolu. She is the mother of the 2007 West High alum Amini Silatolu who is #66, a member of the 17-1 NFC Champion Super Bowl bound Carolina Panthers. Lupe feels nothing but the utmost pride knowing her son reached the ultimate goal in football: The National Football League (NFL).

The story of Amini Silatolu is a story of a West High graduate who fulfilled his promise to life. This promise was to do his best on the field and academically at West High. Amini has fond memories about his time on the field and his challenges in the classroom at West.

When pressed for a description of Amini as a child, Lupe related to me he was a very quiet boy growing up. Amini discovered his love for football at the age of five when his mother brought him and his brother to Tonga for a year where he watched his uncle on the rugby team. When they returned from Tonga, Amini was eager to join the Pop Warner League. The family experienced great joy in transporting Amini to his practices and games. Lupe did fear the physical nature of the game and when Amini was injured when he was younger, she gave him the choice if he wanted to quit, but he still pushed and continued the game.

Since he was a young child, Amini always kept a dream of becoming a professional football player. She always knew his experience at West High would take him somewhere, but the NFL was not even in their minds at the time. “We knew he wanted to grow up and play football, but didn’t know he would make it that far. He tried basketball when he was younger, but we all knew right away when he went to West that he loved football. We just wanted to be there and support what he wanted to do.”

When Amini was in Texas attending Division II Midwestern State University, the recruiters began calling in his senior year. This is the point when the family realized the dream was for real. The NFL Draft was the culmination of Amini’s hard work and the family’s dreams. When I asked for the reaction of the family Lupe said, “We all cried. It’s a cry of joy and thankfulness.”

The words she would use to describe her son as a football player are strong, but also humble. If she had one word to describe him as a son it is that he is the “best.” “He’s our oldest and he’s our blessing.” She is exceptionally thankful for him to reach his fullest potential and achieve monumental goals. “We just thank God, without Him he wouldn’t make it. It was a tough road for him, but to make it to the top, it was only God.” The journey of Amini and his family is one of success. It should be an inspiration to all students that togetherness as a family can accomplish your dreams in life.