NFL player speaks to CCISD students
By PAMELA GRANT
Green Bay Packer Cornerback William Hooper talked with CCISD students at Monday’s resilience camp class at J.L. Williams/Lovett Ledger Elementary at noon.
Hooper shared the story of how, with hard work, dedication, and perseverance, he was able to make his dream of joining the NFL a reality.
Hooper graduated from Shoemaker High School in Killeen before attending and graduating college. After college, Hooper wasn’t drafted, and he wasn’t a top prospect. Of course, it got him down, but Hooper said that he didn’t let that stop him from continuing to pursue his dream. He got a job working in a grocery store and, during his free time, he continued to work hard to stay in shape to try out for a team at the next available opportunity. Drafts came again, and despite many teams talking with him, it didn’t happen. He was ready to return home when he got a call inviting him to participate in the Green Bay Packers’ rookie minicamp on a tryout basis.
Hooper said that he was feeling really down at that point and almost didn’t go, but he talked with his mother who helped give him the confidence to continue to pursue his dream. It paid off in a big way when Hooper was ultimately signed by Green Bay as an undrafted free agent.
Hooper said that he wished that while he was in school, he had had someone tell them something like he told the students. He said that it can make a big difference to hear about someone from a similar background who was able to make their dreams come true despite adversity. He hopes that he was able to inspire the students to follow their dreams.
“Never give up on your dreams,” said Hooper. “If you work hard, everything that you dream about and work for can come true.”
Throughout his speech, Hooper made sure to talk about this year’s resilience camp’s theme, GLOW which stands for Growth, Leadership, Opportunity, and Work ethic.
Hooper encouraged the students to do everything they can to grow and improve themselves, to be good role models, and to have good work ethic. He encouraged them to listen and pay attention in class and do their homework. One of his most important lessons was to not let opportunities pass them by.
“Any opportunity that you are presented with, you should take full advantage of,” said Hooper using his own life experiences as a great example.
“I thought that Mr. Hooper’s story embodied our theme,” said Rhonda Burnell, director of behavioral support services. “Sometimes there are barriers in life, but it doesn’t mean that you can’t overcome them.”
“It was pretty fun,” said Travis Moser (13) who attended the class. “I learned how much money NFL players make and all the dedication and hard work it takes to get into the NFL.”
Kaelee Trahan (15) said that Hooper really helped inspire her. Trahan runs cross country and track.
“A lot of his words I’m going to hold in my mind…With track and cross country, sometimes after a bad race, you don’t think you are good enough,” said Trahan. “But I’m going to hold onto his words and know that I’m going to be great…I’m going to take full advantage of all opportunities and try not to second guess myself.”