Updated: Oct 19, 2018
Oct. 2, 2018 - For almost half an hour on Monday, Sept. 24, NFL Pro Football Hall of Famer Brian Dawkins had more than 100 Raines High School students spellbound.
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 earlier this summer.
For students like senior Nigel Allen, it was the fact that this returning champion 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 us to pursue our plans."
Dawkins had been invited by the district's Family and Community Engagement to visit his Alma Mater, meet and greet students, tour the school and help promote "Dads Take Your Child to School Day" on Wednesday, Sept. 26.
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," Dawkins told the students. "I sat in the same auditorium. I sat in the same gym. 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 could not, Dawkins said, 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, what were their dreams, and are they surrounding themselves with the type of people who can make it happen.
"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."
Watch the video above to learn more about what Dawkins wants students to gain from his life experiences.