by LINDA FRABL | photo by Zeena Gregg Photography

Well-Rounded Wrestler

student_middlebrook2Kai Middlebrook may have been brought up on a tiny island outside of Jacksonville, FL for the first 13 years of his life, but that doesn’t mean he’s a laid-back, “island time” kind of guy. This 18-year-old Poway High School graduating senior is not only a go-getter who has succeeded with wrestling, school activities, and business endeavors, he also has a compassionate nature that he loves to express. Explaining his long list of accomplishments, Kai humbly commented, “I fail a lot, but I don’t give up and I stay optimistic.”

The inspiration for Kai’s benevolent, well-rounded demeanor is his younger sister Kayla, who has a rare seizure disorder that causes developmental delays and an inability to speak. Kai said, “She teaches me so much about patience, kindness, and generosity. I even carry a picture of Kayla in my wallet, which I look at whenever I need some extra motivation to keep moving forward.”

Name: Kai Middlebrook (18)
School: Poway High School
Grade: 12
Parents: Randy & Fadia Middlebrook
Sibling: Kayla Middlebrook (16)
Favorite Place in 92064: Poway High School

student_middlebrook3Move forward he has. For starters, Kai has amassed numerous honors for wrestling, which he has done for the past seven years. These include being on the Union Tribune All-Academic Team twice, a Masters Finalist, a two-time Coaches Award recipient, a three-time California Team member, and member of the first team All-League.

At school, Kai is one of only 12 students chosen to be a Titan Ambassador. This entails him giving presentations at other schools about the importance of good character and leadership. Kai is also president of the Poway Cru Club (a Christian youth program), a multiple award winner at the San Diego County Fair for his photographic entry (first place, best of show, and best of class), the winner of the Entrepreneur Award and the Imagery Award for his school’s robotics team, and an intern at Stifel, a financial services company.

Showing his chutzpah, Kai called up the CEO of eFin, a financial technology startup, because he heard him on a podcast and wanted to be a part of it all. That phone call resulted in Kai becoming an associate partner for the company! Kai plans to ultimately get a degree in financial economics and become an investment banker at his own financial firm. Kai also hopes to establish educational institutions throughout the country. He thoughtfully added, “I believe my purpose is to improve the lives of others.”