JBU’s hidden athlete

Marcel Guadron knew he would be leaving a lot behind in his home country.

Guadron, a senior at John Brown University from Guatemala City, Guatemala, chose to come to JBU after receiving a scholarship from the Walton International Scholarship Program, which awards scholarships to students from Central America and Mexico.

Guadron was 1 of only 10 students to receive the scholarship his freshman year, which requires the student to go back to their home country after they complete their degrees.

Upon returning home, Guadron, a cinema and communication major, plans to work as an independent filmmaker, possibly working with other students who received scholarships through the Walton Program.

“[Guadron] has filmmaking in his blood, is very sensitive, and has the ability to connect with other students,” said Steve Snediker, assistant professor of cinema.

However, filmmaking is not Guadron’s only talent. Guadron played professional table tennis in Guatemala.

At one time, he was ranked as high as fifth in the country in the Under-21 division.

“It was hard to balance school, basketball, and table tennis. We had to train for 2 hours a day, 5 days a week,” said Guadron.

Guadron’s coaches were from Russia, Taiwan and Central America. One was a Central American champion in table tennis.

He started playing table tennis in 2004 when he was in fourth grade. After realizing he had skill, he started playing seriously in tournaments.

Guadron won 4 school tournaments by the age of 15 and later took second place in a national tournament that included players from all over Guatemala.

He and his doubles partner also won first place in another national tournament, and his school team took first place nationally.

“Not many people know I’m a great player. I want to be humble, and I don’t like to show off,” said Guadron.

It was discovered by several students that Guadron was a very skilled player when he won several intramural tournaments on campus, without even losing a set.

Towards the end of his table tennis career, Guadron injured his knee, and decided to put up the paddle in competitive table tennis for good.

“Even though I got hurt, God gave me a scholarship and I was able to come here to America. I’d rather be here in America studying than at home playing table tennis,” he said.

Even with his professional table tennis career over, Guadron enjoys making a difference in other places. He is currently a resident assistant on campus and loves learning about relationships, solving conflicts, and becoming accountable with his students.

He also enjoys working with international students, specifically other Walton students.

“God’s plan was for me to help here, and to help others,” he said.

Ultimately, Guadron is looking forward to heading back home to Guatemala and making a difference in his home country.

Snediker said he believes Guadron will “become a man of peace and be very influential in Guatemala.”