Lionardo Quezada Guevarab '16 | Handley 100th Notable
Lionardo Quezada Guevara ’16

A Washington Post article published in January 2020 stated that the future looked dim for a young student at Daniel Morgan Middle School in 2011. He had a difficult home situation, was hanging out with a rough crowd, and making bad personal decisions. Then Todd Miller, his 7th grade gym teacher, asked the student if he was interested in wrestling.

Lio Quezada was a natural wrestler. “I became obsessed with wrestling. It changed my circle of friends, it changed my drive and it changed my demeanor.”

Lio met Coach David Scott at Handley. Coach Scott worked with him, encouraged him, and took him to offseason tournaments. It was not part of his job but he kept the young man accountable and focused.

Working with Coach Scott improved Lio’s wrestling skills and work ethic as well as his grades. Lio won four district titles, three regional titles and two state championships wrestling for Handley.

“If it wasn’t for other people volunteering in my life, I would have gone on a completely different path.”

Lio was accepted at George Mason University and joined the wrestling team as a walk-on in 2016, earning a starting spot over two wrestlers on scholarship. He was able to balance his academic schedule with his intercollegiate athletic schedule while working 30 hours per week to cover expenses until his senior year when he chose to give up wrestling.

Lio participated in George Mason’s study abroad program and worked six weeks in Davao City, Philippines. He learned there that others may face even tougher challenges but he also learned that his values, and his story, resonate with young people everywhere.

Lio volunteered with youth wrestling programs in Fairfax County and at Fairfax High School. He earned his Bachelors and Masters degrees in secondary education at George Mason University and joined the faculty at Fairfax High School. He was named New Teacher of the Year his first year and was named head coach for the wrestling program.

“The reason I’m so happy is because I started living my life for others and not for myself,” he says. “You do a disservice to yourself and the world if you’re not sharing what you were taught. You never know who you might impact.”

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