With a message centered on determination, Pro Football Hall of Famer, Brian Dawkins had more than 100 Raines students spellbound with his speech. And it wasn’t just his yellow Hall of Fame blazer or the fact this was the first time Dawkins had returned to the school since he was elected into the Pro Football Hall of Fame a few month ago.
For students like senior Nigel Allen, it was the fact that this Hall of Famer once sat where they did more than 20 years ago and had a vision to rise above the circumstances he saw every day. “What he said today gave us inspiration to dream big and head for our goals that we lay out for ourselves,” said Allen, who is a linebacker on the school’s football team. “He inspired to pursue our plans.”
Dawkins was invited by the school district’s Family and Community Engagement office to visit his alma mater, meet and greet students, tour the school and help promote Wednesday’s “Dads Take Your Child to School Day.” But in his speech, he went deeper in talking with students about the importance of having and pursuing gigantic dreams.
“I think about my time here. I sat in the same auditorium. I sat in the same gym,” Dawkins told the students. “What really blessed me is the dreams that I had. I had dreams of doing something different. Different that I saw in my neighborhood.”
He added that he could not have gotten to where he was in life if he hadn’t had that mindset. He challenged the students to ask themselves what type of life they want and to clearly define their dreams. He also made the point that surrounding yourself with the type of people who can make it happen is critical.
“Dream gigantic dreams,” Dawkins said. “Dream huge dreams. You are a powerful group of individuals. And when you surround yourself with individuals you become an even more powerful entity.”