More than 750 local high school juniors and seniors recently got a glimpse at what could be their futures as prominent sports personalities and executives shared insights and real-world advice on how to land careers that tap into their potential.
Edgewater High School set the stage for the ESPN 101 Career Panel, an event that kicked off the 8th Annual MEAC/SWAC Challenge presented by Disney.
Panelists such as Jay Harris, ESPN Sports Commentator; Duer Sharp, Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) Commissioner; and Dennis Thomas, Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) Commissioner spent the morning showing students how they can take a passion for sports and turn it into a career.
Students in the audience were encouraged to dream big and put action to it, so those dreams could come true.
“Take time to seek out help,” said Jay Harris, ESPN Sports Commentator. “Listen, try to do what one says, and do your best at the job you are presented with.”
“Besides doing a job well, seeking out a good mentor and performing well academically is key,” said Duer Sharp, SWAC Commissioner. “Education is the most important tool you will learn.”
The importance of mentoring was a common theme in the 90-minute discussion, as well as a commitment to developing skills and acquiring knowledge.
“The most important skill you can ever possess, for sports and beyond, is work ethic,” said Latria Leak, Community Relations and Cause Marketing Manager for the Orlando Magic. “If you dedicate yourself, are committed, and take pride in your work, you will go places.”
Another tip for landing a good career – think beyond what you know and explore as many options as you can.
“There is life after sports, and there are other venues of work to get into besides playing football,” said Dennis Thomas, MEAC Commissioner. ”Work hard, work smart and when you help someone else out with their dream, you are more likely to obtain your dream.”