He moved in with his friend's family in April, and has excelled.
Braden River High senior athletes Deshaun Fenwick and Kyle Goda don’t hesitate when asked how they met.
It’s a memory fresh on their minds.
Flashback to the first day of the boys’ sophomore year. Goda, a baseball player but then on the junior varsity football team, walked into his second period geometry class to find he was seated next to Fenwick, who had just moved to the area from Kentucky.
“Who’s this big man?” Goda remembered thinking. Goda was wearing his junior varsity jersey at the time and Fenwick was already on varsity. They started a conversation about football, and a friendship had begun.
The next week, Goda drove Fenwick to get a meal at McDonald’s. Fenwick couldn’t believe anyone in 10th grade could have a driver’s license, let alone have a car. They hung out that weekend, and have hung out most weekends since.
Now, they are more like family than friends.
As Fenwick, whose guardian at the time had no kids of his own, spent more and more time with the Godas, he realized their home was a place he felt comfortable. He was finding it difficult, in his situation at the time, to focus on the things that mattered, he said.
The Godas began to know him well, and they knew his situation. In April, Kyle Goda’s parents, John and Amy Goda, offered Fenwick the chance to stay with them permanently and to be part of their family.
“They take care of me,” Fenwick said of the Godas. “They help me take care of my body. They help me academically. My spirits are high.”
The Godas have brought people into their family in the past. Their daughter Mackenzie Goda's friend, Elisabeth Fleming, who now attends Florida State University, was the first. When Fleming comes home from college on breaks, Amy Goda said, she still comes to the Goda house.
"We're not doing it for any reason other than they come into our lives," Amy Goda said. "We want to help make their lives better."
She also credited her own children for accepting others into their home and sharing what they have.
The living situation hasn’t changed the relationship between Kyle Goda and Fenwick, though Fenwick admits Goda gets tired of his playful nature sometimes. Fenwick will jump on Goda while he’s trying to sleep, Goda said, among other things, but it’s all in good fun. It’s also allowed more time for “Madden” football matches between the two. The pair argued for a minutes about who wins more before they agreed on a 55-45% split in Goda’s favor.
Goda even lets Fenwick borrow his car — sometimes.
Since the move, Fenwick has excelled on and off the field. The running back is verbally committed to the University of South Carolina, and he plans on graduating from Braden River in December to enroll in college early and participate in spring football. He’s finishing two online classes in addition to his normal school work to acquire the necessary credits.
“We’re going to miss him,” Amy Goda said. "He's a great kid. He listens. He falls into line. He's a gracious boy, thankful and appreciative, and I feel that. He's not shy about it (giving thanks)."
Before Fenwick leaves, the senior still has one goal left: To win a state championship. The Pirates will start their quest to do so on Nov. 10 against South Fort Myers. Fenwick has been large part of the team's success. In the final regular season game of his high school career, against Saint Petersburg High Nov. 3, Fenwick ran for 194 yards and a touchdown on 30 carries. On the year, he's accumulated 1,065 yards and 10 touchdowns on 131 carries (8.13 yards per carry), and 177 yards and three touchdowns on 11 catches.
When Fenwick does head to Gamecock country, he won’t forget the Godas’ gesture. He dreams of reaching the NFL, and when he achieves that dream, he said, he’s going to give Kyle Goda a percentage of his first signing bonus — 8%, to be exact.
It’s worth it, he said. What the Godas have done for him is priceless.