DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) — DeMarcus Ware addressed the young and eager crowd by saying "I always told myself I was going to be me. And that's one thing I want the interns to realize – be you!"
And who better to deliver that message? On the campus of UT Southwestern, Ware encouraged college students to tackle their life goal with the same premise that carried him from working on a chicken farm in Alabama to becoming the Cowboys all time sack leader.
Ware would also go onto to win a Super Bowl title with the Broncos. He told me, "All young students and young interns need to embrace that message. Keep their character, because that's what separates them from the rest."
For 29 years, the UNT Dallas Conrad Leadership Program has paved the way for minority college students from various universities to take on summer internships with major companies.
The program was originally started by Texas State Senator Royce West as a way of introducing kids in his district to new opportunities. It continues to produce the next wave of working professionals in every field, from nursing, to physical therapy, to science, to graphic design.
Dr. Sabrina Hodge, the program manager, who used to be a Conrad intern herself, advises the current interns "to find your purpose in life. And not to try to make money. What's your purpose? Your purpose will help you make the money, because your purpose will help you become the best version of yourself."
In a society that often leads young people to picture themselves on top of the world without doing the work to get there, these young people say they continue to dream big while starting small.
Will Burnett, a Prairie View A&M Junior explains, "It means so much more when you go through something and achieve that goal. It means more than the goal."
Zoe Franklin, a Texas State University Junior insists, "Putting in that hard work... staying late or coming in early. It's really important to see how far you've come."
Case in point, their keynote speaker. Long before Ware was a Dallas Cowboys great and future Hall of Famer, he was a kid raised by a single mom who held three jobs.
He easily could've felt sorry for himself. Ware told the interns he would tell himself, "You can sit right here and say that'll never be me. Why not me? And then, I thought to myself, 'Do I need somebody to throw me a football? Do I need somebody to actually motivate me?'"
We all know the answer there. What a perfect role model to spread the word to others who are proving to be equally self motivated. His closing piece of advice? "If you stay you and keep that individuality, you will be the change that the world needs."
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