Dedric Ward and a panel of his NFL friends were on campus today and talked to the entire student body about how their experiences and choices led them into successful NFL careers. Ward is the nephew of WA staff member and football coach, Preston Ward. After growing up in Cedar Rapids, Iowa and playing at the University of Northern Iowa, Ward was drafted in the ’97 draft as a wide receiver. After retiring in 2004, he coached at both the NFL and collegiate ranks, most recently as a Panther back at his alma mater as a wide receiver’s coach at UNI. Ward talked about how each step in a person’s life can be the next step towards success. It is a motto that he lives by every day and one that he encouraged WA students to adopt as well.
Check out after the break what some of the other panelists had to say.
Kevin Williams, who played college football at Oklahoma State and was drafted by the Jets in 1998, said that even though he is retired from the NFL, he wakes up every day trying to better himself. Growing up, he often thought about how his actions impacted his dreams and those of his family. It was that mindset that kept him out of trouble. Even today, he said he didn’t want to be one of those “old guys” that sits around drinking and talking about what they could have done. Williams is always proud to tell people what he HAS done and what he plans to do in the future.
Joining into that discussion was Andre Allen who also played college football at UNI and for a time in the NFL with the Philadelphia Eagles. He currently lives in Waukee, Iowa. He told students to never stop learning, which is something that he continually stresses to his three teenaged sons.
Another high point from the panel included a candid discussion of how to deal with peer pressures. Perhaps the best perspective came from Kevin Williams who said that “peer pressure isn’t a bad thing, unless you walk around with people who are doing the wrong things.” He continued by saying that his friends would never put him in a bad spot. That kind of advice is something that can be valuable for not only students at Woodward Academy, but for everyone.
Thanks to the panel for taking time away from their family and careers to talk to the students at Woodward Academy.