ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – A middle school yearbook has left one family angry, over an insensitive statement printed in it, about their 14-year-old son. Now the parents are calling for answers. This as a celebrity steps in to help the teen work through the tough time.
“He brought the yearbook home that day and he showed me right away and it’s just a little upsetting to see something like that you know, something he enjoys so much,” says Ray Garcia, parent.
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Rayce Garcia just finished up eighth grade at McKinley Middle School and was excited to get his last yearbook before high school. That excitement quickly turned into disappointment when he saw a page that predicted he would grow up to be quote “a homeless UFC Champion,” apparently making fun of his love for the sport.
“Well it made me feel like they were mocking me and the gym that I go to basically saying that they’re not going to get me anywhere,” says Rayce Garcia.
Rayce’s parents called the school principal who spoke with the teacher who oversaw the book being published. However, when word got out about their concerns, things only got worse.
They say that’s when other students began bullying Rayce, but his connections in the fight world helped turn things around. Rayce has been training at Jackson’s MMA Acoma gym for more than two years. His coach reached out to his friend, UFC Champion Jon Jones, who sent Rayce a surprise video.
“Focus on the good my friend, I heard UFC champion. It’s crazy that you’re 14 years old and people already know that you’re going to be a UFC champion…It’s really special man, make that come true,” says Jon Jones, UFC Champion.
Rayce says he took Jones’ advice and turned this unfortunate event into motivation. For the first time, he competed in the American Grappling Federation tournament last weekend and came in first place in his weight class. Now, he wants to remind other kids never to let someone’s mean words determine their future. “I’ll make it and become like a big champion, just use it as motivation,” says Rayce Garcia.
Rayce’s parents are calling for the school to replace the current yearbooks and issue an apology. Albuquerque Public Schools says they are looking into the issue.