For­mer NFL play­ers teach lead­er­ship at lo­cal high schools

South Florida Times - - METRO - Black PR Wire

MI­AMI – "At­ti­tude is Al­ti­tude," pro­claimed Don­nell Ben­nett, the for­mer NFL Kansas City Chief run­ning back and stal­wart at the Univer­sity of Mi­ami Hur­ri­canes.

He mo­tioned his brawny arm in an as­cend­ing arc to sim­u­late the take­off of a jet air­craft to help make his point to 50 stu­dent-ath­letes at Mi­ami Edison Se­nior High School at a re­cent lead­er­ship train­ing im­mer­sion ses­sion.

Ben­nett's con­ver­sa­tion with the group of Red Raiders cen­tered on what it takes to have the cor­rect type of men­tal out­look to achieve suc­cess re­lat­ing "al­ti­tude" (how suc­cess­ful you can be­come in life) with "at­ti­tude" (start­ing off with the right mind­set).

He com­mu­ni­cated his per­sonal story about push­ing him­self in the class­room and on the grid­iron as an ath­lete to ex­cel and at­tain the goals he set for him­self.

Ben­nett – re­ferred to as "Head Coach or DB" by stu­dents – is a key mem­ber of the Stu­dent ACES pro­gram, a val­ues-based lead­er­ship train­ing or­ga­ni­za­tion, spon­sored by Florida Power & Light Com­pany (FPL) to ex­pand high school lead­er­ship devel­op­ment in Mi­ami-Dade County with the goal of build­ing young men and women of honor, in­tegrity and char­ac­ter.

With the tremen­dous suc­cess of the ini­tial train­ing pro­gram at Mi­ami Edison, Stu­dent ACES will be of­fer­ing lead­er­ship train­ing through­out Mi­ami-Dade County High Schools.

The first wave of train­ing will be fo­cused on Mi­ami Edison, North Mi­ami Se­nior High School, North­west­ern Se­nior High School, Booker T. Washington Se­nior High School, Mi­ami Cen­tral Se­nior High School and Carol City Se­nior High School.

"While most stu­dents and par­ents are spend­ing the last week be­fore school starts fig­ur­ing out what forms to fill out or what kind of sup­plies to pur­chase, we saw an op­por­tu­nity to im­prove on tra­di­tional back-to-school ac­tiv­i­ties and of­fer lessons in lead­er­ship," said Buck Martinez, founder of Stu­dent ACES. "A foundation of val­ues is what de­fines char­ac­ter with in­di­vid­u­als in our so­ci­ety who we look up to and em­u­late, and it is the goal of Stu­dent ACES to in­still these ad­mirable qual­i­ties in young peo­ple."

The non-profit or­ga­ni­za­tion pro­vides lead­er­ship pro­grams, men­tor­ing, schol­ar­ships and in­tern­ship op­por­tu­ni­ties for high school stu­dents.

"It's re­ally never too early to get ahead of the game by in­still­ing a foundation in these stu­dent-ath­letes," said Ben­nett. "With the things that are go­ing on in the world today, these kids need to soak up what it means to be a leader and do the right things to put them on a path to suc­cess."

Other par­tic­i­pants in the pro­gram who spoke about over­com­ing life’s adversities, the im­por­tance of main­tain­ing and pro­tect­ing a pos­i­tive im­age and be­ing re­spon­si­ble and de­pend­able in­cluded: DaJuan Mor­gan, for­mer Univer­sity of North Carolina State stand­out and NFL Kansas City Chief de­fen­sive back, and Chris Pri­ester, a Broward County ed­u­ca­tor and co­me­dian.

PHOTO COUR­TESY OF BLACK PR WIRE

Chris Pr iester, a Br oward County ed­u­ca­tor and co­me­dian, works with Stu­dent ACES to help high school youth.

PHOTO COUR­TESY OF BLACK PR WIRE

Mi­ami Edison stud ent ath­letes par tic­i­pated in v ar­i­ous ac­tiv­i­ties at a r ecent lead­er­ship train­ing ses­sion.

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