High school students sit down with Bears President, CEO Kevin Warren thanks to Obama Foundation’s ‘Futures Series’

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LAKE FOREST, Ill. — A group of high school students toured Halas Hall on Friday to learn the business behind football.

It is part of the Obama Foundation’s “Futures Series,” which exposes high school students to different career paths.

25 students from Hyde Park Academy High School sat down with the Chicago Bears President and CEO Kevin Warren, but it was not about football.

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“It’s giving them access it’s giving them a view into someone else’s life and to maybe think that I can do that too,” Hyde Park Academy Counselor Veronica Jackson said.

The monthly program exposes students to different career paths in hopes of inspiring them to dream big and on Friday, they got to go behind the scenes.

The students visited Halas Hall, in Lake Forest, which serves as the headquarters of the Bears.

“Walking in just felt like a big different environment. It just felt professional,” senior Mia Gaines said.

During the visit, the students heard from a panel of Bears business leaders in communication, sales and marketing. They learned about what it takes to support the team off the field and how they can pursue similar careers.

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“It’s not just all about the players and the coaches there can be a lot on the backend sometimes too,” junior Rayshawn Blackmon said.

But the main event was sitting down for an intimate conversation with Kevin Warren.

“So really whatever is in your heart you can do it, you gotta work toward it, but that’s the biggest thing, is to believe believe believe and dream, you’ll be able to do it,” Warren said.

During the sit-down, Warren shared details about a near-death experience when was hit by a car while riding a bike when he was 11 years old. Warren said ever since, he has lived every day like it could be his last.

“I really felt like it was nice and inspiring hearing his story and the things and the obstacles he went through and how he overcame to be the person he is today,” Mia, another student who attended, said.

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Now Warren is one of the highest-ranking Black business executives in the NFL.

“To see that he’s not done, he wants to build a bigger legacy. It tells me something that you can do almost anything you want no matter what position you’re put in,” Rayshawn, who attended Friday, said.

Students say he inspired them to own their story and never stop dreaming.

“My big takeaway is to keep going in life to always strive for my dreams and never give up nothing is impossible,” Rayshawn said.

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