Chisholm Trail Middle School students stared wide-eyed as Baltimore Ravens Super Bowl XVII champion kicker Justin Tucker walked into their Pink Out Pep Rally Friday morning.
Tucker surprised CTMS students with a talk about character, perseverance and goal setting to kick off Red Ribbon/Bully Free Week Oct. 28 through Nov. 1.
“More than anything, I’m talking about how everybody is important and has a purpose,” Tucker said. “When I got the opportunity to talk to these kids, I didn’t want to pass it up.”
Tucker graduated from Westlake High School near Austin and attended the University of Texas at Austin before signing with the Ravens as an undrafted free agent in 2012.
The Ravens are in the midst of a bye week, giving Tucker some free time to speak with students.
“I’d like to share with them my path all the way from middle school to the NFL,” Tucker said.
He said he got involved in as many extracurricular activities as possible when he was in school so he could find out what he liked and loved to do.
“I’d encourage kids to do the same and get involved in as much stuff as they can and really find out what they like,” he said. “I want to share with them that everybody has different passions and talents and finding them and going on that journey is part of the fun.”
Tucker didn’t start playing football until he was in high school. Before that he was first chair trumpet and had made all-region orchestra for three years. He is also an opera singer and rapper, who likes to record music during the off-season.
“You never know when the person next to you will come out of nowhere and do something special and totally unique. It’s important to respect that,” Tucker said.
Red Ribbon Week serves as a national anti-drug awareness program that encourages students to stay away from drugs. This year Northwest ISD combined it with Bully Free week, which aims to curb bullying in schools by raising awareness. Students were also dressed in pink to show their support for people affected by breast cancer.
At the pep rally, Principal Amy Jo Wagner honored CTMS student Grayson Moore who was credited with rendering emergency aid to his mother in 2012. Wagner presented him with a special plaque.