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PERPETUAL PANTHER | Antioch High’s Fifita Grewe Never Stops PERPETUAL PANTHER | Antioch High’s Fifita Grewe Never Stops
With An Intense Work Ethic And Passion For Improving The Lives Of Others, Multi-Sport Athlete & Student Leader Fifita Grewe Isn’t Slowing Down Anytime... PERPETUAL PANTHER | Antioch High’s Fifita Grewe Never Stops

With An Intense Work Ethic And Passion For Improving The Lives Of Others, Multi-Sport Athlete & Student Leader Fifita Grewe Isn’t Slowing Down Anytime Soon

Fifita Grewe has a schedule that would be daunting to most adults, but the Antioch High School junior wouldn’t have it any other way. She’s a four-sport athlete, student body president, a rally commissioner, volunteer coach and has a part-time job as a youth recreation leader.

Her drive, leadership, compassion, and infectious positivity have earned her yet another role, as the City of Antioch’s 2024 Youth of the Year. 

Grewe was honored along with other city winners at the Antioch Chamber of Commerce’s 2024 Gala and Awards Ceremony on March 22.

“I want to be an inspiration to younger students,” Grewe said. “I wanted to have a voice and a say in student government and to do that, you have to participate.”

When it comes to Grewe, “participate” is an understatement. The 17-year-old is a versatile athlete, playing varsity flag football (center, quarterback), volleyball (middle blocker, setter), basketball (power forward, center), and softball (first base, outfield) for the Panthers. In addition to helping plan school rallies, student art shows, and multicultural events, Grewe also serves as the Student Body President – a role traditionally held by a senior – representing more than 1,900 of her peers.

Trine Gallegos, Antioch Unified School District’s Media Coordinator, wrote Grewe’s nomination letter for Youth of the Year. “I jokingly and admirably refer to Fifita Grewe as Antioch High’s student vice principal because she’s seemingly involved in everything on campus,” Gallegos wrote. “Fifita leads with clarity and an abundance of positivity – all effortlessly. So, it’s not surprising she has literally taken the lead in Panther Country.”


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Gallegos and Antioch High Principal John Jimno surprised Grewe in Leadership class with the news of her new title. Antioch High coach and leadership teacher Nick Wisely had to convince Grewe to get up in front of the class by asking her to reiterate some key points from their last meeting so they could make the announcement.

“It’s such a blessing, to be honest,” Grewe said. “When I found out, it had been a hard week losing our playoff game in basketball, so ending that week finding out about this honor was awesome. It made my day. I had no idea.”

Antioch High junior Fifita Grewe react excitedly in her classroom after being named the Antioch Youth of the Year.
Fifita Grewe is all smiles after she was surprised in her leadership class with the news she’d been named Antioch Youth of the Year. (Trine Gallegos photo)

When Grewe arrived at Antioch High, the first year out of COVID-19, Wisely said she made her presence known jumping into leadership right away.

“She’s a fantastic human being,” he said. “Fita genuinely cares about others. She goes above and beyond. Anything I ask, she does more. I say ‘Let someone else do it,’ but no she’s got it. She wants to make things better. She cares about how our school looks. She wants to leave her legacy behind; she’s committed to leaving it better than she found it.” 

Wisely has known Grewe since sixth grade and was familiar with her athletic ability in basketball. He convinced her to give softball a try, even loaning her a glove, which she still uses.

“She just started playing softball and now she’s starting at first base on varsity,” he said. “She picked up the game and is doing decent for someone who only put on a glove just two years ago. She’s loud, she communicates with her teammates. As a coach, she’s a player that checks every single box.”

Wisely not only coached her in softball last season, but he’s also a flag football coach. He says Grewe was second or third in receptions as a center and had a 60-yard touchdown run as the quarterback. 

On a typical weekday in March, Grewe is up around 7 a.m., gets ready for school, and drops her younger sister off at middle school. She then heads to Antioch High for a full day of classes, maybe a student government meeting, and then softball practice or a game. She gets home around 7:30 p.m. has dinner, showers, does homework, and is in bed by 10 p.m. 

While it seems like a lot, Grewe’s Spring schedule is relatively light compared to the Fall when she was playing on both the flag football and volleyball teams. Mondays were game days for flag football with practice on Wednesday and Friday mornings from 7-8 a.m., then school, followed by volleyball practice in the evening. Game days for volleyball were Tuesdays and Thursdays.

“It was challenging, but something I looked forward to overcoming,” Grewe said of her Fall schedule.

Thankfully, there’s an app for that. 

“I look forward to planning out my schedule every week,” Grewe said. “I have some of it in my head, but I also have apps on my phone to remind me. I wake up and look at my phone and say, ‘OK I have this, this, this, and this today.’ Then I look at what homework I need to get done that day. It’s all about planning.”

Antioch High junior softball player Fifita Grewe stands amidst her teammates as they huddle.
Fifita stands amongst her teammates as they huddle during a March 17 nonleague home game against Alhambra-Martinez. (Kelli Bryson photo)

What Grewe didn’t plan on was being honored for her involvement and hard work, a drive that she inherited. “Seeing (my mom) go through the adversity of being a Pacific Islander coming to America at a young age, having that independent woman that I can look up to inspired me growing up,” Grewe said.

The admiration is mutual. Salote Grewe, Fifita’s mom, was shocked to find out her daughter was named Youth of the Year, but also not surprised by her daughter’s ambition and leadership. 

“She is very positive and very outgoing. Fifita is always willing to put other people’s needs before her own,” Salote said. “I’m super proud of that. Home is your first school and what we teach at home, it shows. For her to get ‘Youth of the Year’ is huge. It’s something I wasn’t even expecting. All the hard work that we put into taking care of them – it all pays off. She turned my hard work into something I’m super proud of.”

Fifita’s mom is the oldest of 11 children, and her father is the eldest of eight. The high schooler says watching her parents juggle work, home, family, and children (Fifita has four siblings) inspired her work ethic and appetite for activity.

This includes a part-time job at the Antioch Community Center where she works weekends coaching kids in various Recreation Department classes. “I love it,” Grewe said. “I coach kids. I referee games. I enjoy working with the kids and the young community. I try to use my outside life to inspire them to do stuff.”

Ashley Garcia, a coach and teacher at Antioch High, wasn’t familiar with the Youth of the Year award, but wasn’t surprised to hear Grewe was selected. The two met about five years ago at Antioch Middle School where Garcia coached Grewe on the basketball team and she became besties with her younger sister. Garcia says Grewe is “part of the family.”

“She’s a natural born leader,” Garcia said. “Fita just has something you don’t see in everyone. She takes initiative to get anything and everything done. I don’t know many adults, let alone a teenager who just gets stuff done. She’s a helper and in such a selfless way too.” 

Antioch High junior softball player Fifita Grewe watches play unfold from behind the dugout fence.
(Kelli Bryson photo)

Garcia has had the opportunity to coach Grewe again in high school as the girls flag football and basketball coach. When she moved to Antioch High, she says Grewe was there to help in any way she could. “She taught me how to pull out the bleachers in the gym,” Garcia laughed. “She’s so attentive to everything. She just makes things better.”

In her spare time, whenever that is, Grewe enjoys going to the gym, playing basketball, and spending time with her family and friends.

Despite her busy schedule Grewe has already started thinking about the future. She’s started looking at colleges and plans to major in Kinesiology. “I’m really looking toward staying in the sports arena, not sure if I want to play sports in college, but I definitely want to stay in the field of sports,” she said.

Wisely would love to see her back at Antioch High. 

“I’m trying to recruit her to come back and teach,” he said. ‘I could definitely see her in education and she loves sports in general. If she gets into something like that, she would definitely thrive.”

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Kelli Bryson

Kelli Bryson is a freelance writer who was a former journalist for Bay Area News Group.

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