Former NFL Player Inspires Students at Howard P.R.I.D.E.’s Third Annual Black Male Summit
Members of Howard Community College’s (HCC) Howard P.R.I.D.E. program joined fellow students, college faculty, and staff on September 13 for the third annual Black Male Summit, an event designed to usher in the 2018-2019 academic year and celebrate the earned accomplishments of students over the previous semesters.
Former NFL wide receiver Santana Moss was interviewed on stage by student Markeen Lateef, a peer mentor for Howard P.R.I.D.E. and member of the HCC men’s basketball team. Lateef asked a series of questions submitted by the P.R.I.D.E. students.
Moss spoke about his past struggles and drive to fulfill his dream of being a professional football player. He highlighted on the importance for these young men to have a strong support system. Raised in Miami, Florida, Moss said he witnessed crime and endured poverty in early childhood.
“At the end of the day, I had a support system and they did everything they could to get me out of there,” he said. “That support system had my back at all time. I’ve always tried to be that mentor that gives back to the community because I understand the struggle.
“I can tell you I truly stand by what you guys are standing for,” said Moss. “I think you’re doing a tremendous job empowering and helping our young Black men.”
Now it its seventh year, Howard P.R.I.D.E. is a program that encourages the continued academic, professional, and personal development of Black male students. Created as a Black male success initiative, P.R.I.D.E. aims to increase completion, retention, and graduate rates. Since its inception, the program has increase from 27 to 210 student members.
Lateef, who grew up in a similar background as Moss, said it meant a lot to have a conversation with the former NFL player. With an impressive 3.5 grade point average, Lateef is on track to graduate in the spring.
“I could definitely learn a lot about his mindset, what drove him, and what kept him positive to keep going and get to where he wanted to be,” he said. “Keep pushing forward, ignore negativity, be better than you were yesterday. He gave me the idea that I’m on the right path if I just stay positive, keep doing what I’m doing, and try to continue to improve myself in every way possible.”
Geoffrey Colbert, associate director of Howard P.R.I.D.E., said it was an “incredible experience” to have a former NFL player on stage to inspire students. He plans to carry some of the themes of Moss’s talk as he works with students in the coming year.
The topic of procrastination particularly stood out to Colbert.
“We all have a tendency to put things on the back burner,” he said. “So how do we take initiative, get done what’s important first, and move on? We can get done with everything if we just do it early. That’s the biggest takeaway and I hope it’s something the guys hold true.”
Watch the entire interview here: