NEW CASTLE —
THE ROAD TO TURKEY
Relic was a quarterback for the New Castle High football team prior to his graduation in 2002. He went on to Grove City College, graduating in 2007 with a bachelor of arts degree with a secondary education teaching certificate in social studies.
He coached football at New Castle in 2005 and two years later, helped coach quarterbacks at Grove City College.
In late 2007, Relic moved to Phoenix and spent three years coaching and five years teaching at an inner city school district. For about a year, he also worked with a friend at a company in Arizona. It was there that he met a Turkish man named Ugur “Mike” Boyunince, who quickly become Relic’s best friend. The two went to the gym every day and discussed politics or life. Boyunince is married and has three children, while Relic was single and had no kids at the time.
“Mike knew I was a teacher and one day in May 2011, he looked at me and said, ‘How about going to Turkey, to my country, to teach? I can help you get there,’ ” Relic said. “I thought about it and was on the fence. It was far away and many things were different than America. However, while this was going on, I began talking via Skype every day with Mike’s cousin, Raina. The more we talked, the more I wanted to meet her. After months of thinking about it, in October of 2011, I took a leap of faith and made the biggest decision of my life. I bought my ticket to arrive in Adana on Jan. 6, 2012.”
Relic said he was met with mixed reaction from family and friends on whether he should go. Among those he consulted was his former New Castle High football coach, Gary Schooley, who told him he had nothing to lose and encouraged him to follow his heart.
“My dad also told me to go for it or I’d always regret not taking the chance,” Relic said. “My mom wasn’t sure. Her little boy was going to a strange country where he didn’t know how to speak the language. She was worried, especially when she found out I bought a one-way ticket.”