Go ahead and add an airplane hangar to the list of venues that Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson has managed to fill.
Yesterday, Wilson and team partner Alaska Airlines attracted 605 urban youth from 21 different educational programs across the state of Washington to Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, where Wilson and Alaska Airlines’ Black Employee Resource Group encouraged students to graduate high school and accomplish their goals.
“You can do and be anything you want if you set a goal, map out a plan and commit to achieve it,” Wilson said at the “Pledge It. Prove It. Take Flight.” event. “You just need to do the work.”
Wilson’s done his fair share of work since entering the League as a third-round draft pick by the Seahawks last season, and he’ll be the first to tell you that he still has plenty of more work to do. But it was Wilson’s road to the NFL that was the focus yesterday – attending high school in Richmond, Va. before earning a bachelors degree in communications in just three years at North Carolina State University, finishing up with one year at the University of Wisconsin before transitioning to life in the NFL.
With Wilson guiding the way, the students on hand pledged to attend school every day, participate in class, complete their assignments and study for exams while promising to work hard and not be afraid to ask for help when they need it.
“Hearing Russell Wilson speak about accomplishing goals and achieving his dreams is tremendously significant for our students,” said Making a Difference in Community (a Tacoma nonprofit that sponsors educational programs for youths throughout Pierce County) director of education L. Denice Randle. “Many young people hear similar messages from their parents and teachers, but having Russell advocate the message of possibility for our students will stay with them for the rest of their lives.”
Following the Wilson-led pledge, students received Seahawks-green bracelets that read “Take Flight 7.10.13” to commemorate the day, as well as certificates depicting the full pledge they had just took.
“I liked the motivational speech by Russell Wilson, especially hearing about the steps he takes daily to be successful,” said Alfredo Gomez, a student from Tacoma’s Lincoln High School. “I do some of those same things. [Wilson] gets up early every day. I get up at 3 a.m. every day to be the best that I can be.
“To see how those habits have led to success for him makes me feel hopeful for my own future.”