Chaminade Julienne 2001 graduate and current Baltimore Raven Brandon McKinney spoke with CJ students about life after high school and the importance of getting a college degree Monday afternoon.
The defensive tackle returned to his alma mater as part of the BJ Kids 91 Foundation’s tour visiting Dayton-area youth. The organization, founded by McKinney in 2006 and established locally in 2008, promotes social responsibility, academic enrichment, health and well being, and philanthropy amongst young people.
During the 45 minute session with students in the library, McKinney fielded questions and talked about his experiences balancing athletics and academics. He challenged students to go above and beyond expectations, and emphasized the importance of having a strong foundation of support from family and friends.
“I am moved to give back to Chaminade Julienne because the school provided me with opportunities not everyone is afforded in high school,” he said.
Laferris Wright, a CJ senior and offensive tackle for the Eagles football team in 2010, was one of about 60 students in attendance at the presentation.
"I was impressed by his work ethic," Wright said, adding he felt inspired to keep working hard as he continues on to college.
Along with his stop at CJ, McKinney also visited with students at various other locations, including the Children’s Medical Center, to deliver his message of encouragement for success both on and away from the playing field.
In addition to speaking engagements, McKinney’s foundation also organizes local events each year including the BJ Kids 91 Bike-A-Thon, the annual Barber/Stylist Cut-Off that provides students in grades K-8 with school supplies, and a football clinic hosted at the University of Dayton’s Welcome Stadium.
“This is my way of saying thank you for helping me be successful,” he said.