Top Guards – Rishonda Napier & Micah Shirley!

May 3, 2009 by  

Bell-Jeff “Top Guards”, are special young men and women who are able to maintain a high GPA while excelling as a high school athlete.

This time, our “Top Guards” rule the Basketball court and Football field, Rishonda Napier and Micah Shirley!

Rishonda Napier

Rishonda Janell Napier is in the honors program at Bell Jeff. 

Excelling in Math and Science, Rishonda is maintaining a 4.3 GPA  and holds the distinction of being is the only freshman taking Algebra 2.

Rishonda entered Bell Jeff from Jordan Middle School, where she was in GATE (gifted and talented education program).  While at Jordan, she was student body president, athletic director for ASB and also received the Jordan Middle School Athlete of the Year award for 2008.

Rishonda was the 2008 Magnolia Park Optimist Oratorical Contest winner and she also won first place in the 2008 Martin Luther King Essay Contest by Forest Lawn.

Rishonda - an episode on ER

Rishonda - an episode on ER

If you think her face is familiar, your right. Before focusing her attentions on basketball, Rishonda had tapped into the industry a few years ago.  This quick to smile former child/actor has a myriad of on screen credits including two guest star roles on ER, airing on NBC, a reoccurring role  on Malcolm in the Middle (Fox).  She also appeared in a film airing on HBO and Showtime, titled Gift for the Living. 

Rishonda began playing basketball in third grade, with Burbank Park and Recreation.  Over the past several years, she has played on AAU travel teams for Media City Tribe, GBL Lady Rebels, and SGV. 

During her career, she has received recognition as Offensive Player of the Year from Media City Tribe and the MVP award for the GBL Lady Rebels.  In 2005, her 10 year and under team (GBL) won the  national championship in Orlando Florida as well as the NJB National Championship in 2007.  She earned a third national championship title for 13 year and under, in 2008 with SGV in Norman Oklahoma.

As a Bell-Jeff freshman (or 9th grader as she prefers to be recalled), Rishonda’s basketball accomplishments include a Nike Tournament of Champions Gray Division championship, a CIF Div 5A Championship and the schools record breaking 34-1 season which culminated with a first ever history making CIF Div 5 State Championship!

A self proclaimed “basketball junkie”, Rishonda can’t wait to get back in the gym with her teammates and prepare to make history again and repeat as CIF League and State Champions.

Rishonda’s 2008 – 2009 Honors

ALL CIF first team

ALL Santa Cruz League first team

All State Freshman Team

Burbank All Area first team

Named to the TOC NIKE All Tournament Team In Phoenix AZ in December 2008

She also participated in track and field and ran cross-country for Bell Jeff where she was named to the Santa Cruz All League first team and earned All CIF honors.

Rishonda is not the only Napier at Bell-Jeff, her brother junior Ryan Napier runs track and is also excelling in the classroom.

Congratulations Rishonda, you truly epitimize the term Student/Athlete!


Micah Shirley

Micah Shirley is a fifteen year old sophomore at Bell Jeff who is always challenging himself in the classroom, at home and in sports. 

Micah has attended private Catholic schools since preschool and was recently confirmed at Our Mother of Good Counsel Church. A devout follower towards his Catholic religion, Micah volunteers time at the church’s annual carnival, soup-line, car wash fundraiser, and food for the homeless.

As a Scholar Athlete, Micah is academically focused maintaining a 3.4 GPA with his sights set on UCLA or USC.

A standout player in two sports, Basketball and Football, Micah played safety and wide receiver, scoring 5 touchdowns and setting the school record for receiving yards, 1,002 yards on just 40 catches! 

For his accomplishments, he was voted Santa Fe League All-League First Offensive Team, named to Burbank’s All-Area 1st Team on Offense and honered as the Guard’s Offensive Player of the Year.

In Basketball, Micah was co-leading scorer with 10 points per game helping the Guards to a 16-12 season and named to the Santa Fe League All-League 2nd Team.

Micah is not the only athlete in the family, his brother Andrew Shirley, (freshman @ Cal State Dominguez) played basketball for the Guards, mother Rhonda Shirley completed the 2009 City of Angels Half Marathon and father Kirk Shirley was a standout football player for North Hollywood high school.

Story by: Eric “Rico” Reed

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