Meme to State Champion: Popeye’s viral video child wins HS State Title


The road to internet stardom can be instantaneous, shocking, and, for some, unwanted. This was the case with Dieunerst Collin, who at nine was at the center of a viral video as he lined up in front of a Popeyes. Collin’s sidelong glance has survived in the internet lore, even though he never wanted to achieve internet fame.

“When it first happened, I felt a little sad about it,” Collin said. “He was someone randomly checking me in, and I’ve never been viral before. When it first came out, I took it for bullying, every time I heard” Oh , Terio, Terio “, and that’s not my name… a few weeks later I figured out it was me from the video. I got a little emotional, I cried a little. Over the years, I have recovered. “

On Sunday, Collin’s Path took a victorious turn, as his East Orange High School (NJ) team won the State Championship in a wild triple-overtime thriller to cap an unbeaten season.

The victory is sort of a highlight for Collin, who says it was difficult to grow up in the shadow of a viral internet moment that led to frequent bullying from older classmates. Eventually, he learned to accept video as something that would stay connected with him and focused on connecting with others just by being himself.

“When I was in college, I had a few people who would say things like, ‘You’re Terio, you’re a meme,’ and that was all high school kids…” Collin said. “People in my class found it very funny, so I continued to be myself. I got over it once everyone who randomly came to me and called me Terio met me. and learned my real name and got to know me, that’s when I got over it.

Collin said he would be recognized even when traveling out of state and had become accustomed to being recognized by strangers, although he made an effort to avoid being checked in by people he didn’t know, which he still found “very weird”.

As for the sequel, Collin is still figuring out. His future in football is uncertain, but he plans to go to college and plans to work in sports media after graduating. He also hopes his story can help others who have faced bullying overcome these obstacles.

“I would say just don’t take it that personal, because when I took it personally, I got to a place where it was like, ‘I don’t know if I want to go out anymore,’” Collin mentioned. “And stay close to your friends and family… you will also meet new people when you don’t think of it as personal.”

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